A Leicestershire Liberal Democrat Councillor has joined Councillors from across the country in writing a letter to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care calling for more action to reduce cancer deaths. Councillor Michael Mullaney, who is the Cancer Research UK Councillor Cancer Champion for Leicestershire was a signatory to the letter to Health Secretary Steve Barclay.
In the letter, coordinated by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and Cancer Research UK Michael Mullaney, alongside 47 other local councillors from across England, urge the Government to bring forward a new Tobacco Control Plan for England and to introduce a 'polluter pays' levy on tobacco manufacturers.
In Leicestershire alone, smoking is responsible for hundreds of premature deaths each year. Smoking also puts a significant strain on the NHS, with an estimated £3.6 billion spent on smoking-related health and social care in England every year. This is in addition to £13.2 billion each year in lost economic productivity resulting from premature death and disability caused by smoking. But this is not inevitable, and the Government has the power to change this.
Signing the letter to the Secretary of State for Health Councillor Michael Mullaney said "Almost everyone has been affected by deaths of loved ones from cancer. Sadly, despite a fall in the number of people smoking, far too many people are still dying too soon from the affects of smoking. I hope the Secretary of State for Health will listen to all of us who have written to him and help stem the deaths from smoking by taking real action. One of our key calls is for a "polluter pays" levy on the tobacco companies.
"The funds from this levy on the tobacco companies can be put into helping existing smokers quit and helping to prevent future generations of people from smoking. The tobacco industry has caused untold damage to many people's health, the least they can do is fund measures to try and limit the amount of people who still tragically die from their products."
A copy of the letter and a list of the signatories can be read at Joint-Cllr-letter-to-Steve-Barclay-Final.pdf (ash.org.uk)