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North Wales MS backs campaign for law to create a smoke free Wales

A NORTH Wales MS has backed a campaign to create a smoke free Wales.

Llŷr Gruffydd, who represents the region in the Senedd, recently met with representatives from Cancer Research UK at the Welsh Parliament, and he pledged his support for the Tobacco and Vapes Bill.

The Plaid Cymru politician says the Bill, which is making its way through the Westminster parliament will “save lives and save the Welsh NHS billions of pounds”.

The aim of the legislation is to create the first smoke free generation by raising the age of sale of tobacco.

It would ensure that people born on or after 1 January 2009 (turning 15 this year) would not legally be sold tobacco in their lifetime.

If the legislation is passed by UK Parliament it will then go to the Senedd to be voted on via a legislative consent motion.

Around 325,000 people smoke in Wales, which equates 13% of the population.

Smoking causes around 3,100 cases of cancer each year in Wales. It is a leading cause of preventable ill health and premature death in Wales.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in Wales, while more than 7 out of 10 lung cancers in the UK are caused by smoking.

According to YouGov polling conducted on behalf of ASH Cymru 69% of Welsh adults support the ambition of creating a smokefree society by 2030.

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The Tobacco and Vapes Bill would provide new powers to introduce regulations to restrict e-cigarette flavours, packaging, and point of sale displays in retail outlets I order to clampdown on youth vaping.

Llŷr Gruffydd MS said: “Though it is certainly encouraging that we have seen a huge reduction in the number of people smoking in Wales over the last few decades, the fact of the matter is that there is much more that needs to be done.

“Almost 4 out of 10 cancers in Wales are preventable; and smoking is the leading cause of preventable cancer.

“Not only does preventing cancer saves lives, it saves money, and reduces pressure on the Welsh NHS, which as we all know is under severe strain at this time.

“As the population grows and ages, reducing the number of preventable cancers will be absolutely essential for controlling ever-growing health budgets.

“Research has shown that smoking is a key driver of cancer inequalities in Wales.

“Therefore through reducing tobacco use in Wales we can take a big step towards addressing some of the stark differences in health across our nation.

“This is why I fully support this measure to help create a healthier, fairer, smoke free Wales.”