WQ92726 (e) Tabled on 01/05/2024

What consideration has the Cabinet Secretary given to the long-term impact on NHS Wales’s funding if the Tobacco and Vapes Bill is successfully implemented, especially in terms of reduced demand for smoking-cessation services?

Answered by Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care | Answered on 09/05/2024

The Tobacco and Vapes Bill was introduced to the UK Parliament on 20 March and has the potential to be one of the most significant public health interventions in a generation. If passed, the Bill will raise the age of sale of tobacco products by one year, every year and effectively take cigarettes and tobacco products out of reach of young people. To tackle youth vaping, the Bill provides powers to restrict flavours, point of sale and packaging for both nicotine and non-nicotine vaping products.

Smoking has a devastating impact on individuals, on society and our health service. It significantly increases the risk of cancer, respiratory diseases and dementia and is responsible for around 5,600 deaths per year in Wales. Treating smoking-related diseases has major economic impacts, costing the NHS in Wales an estimated £302m a year. This is why we established our ambitious target in 2022 to create a smokefree society by 2030 and why, we are taking forward actions to support more people to quit and to prevent the uptake of smoking in the first place.

To support the Bill, the UK Government’s Department for Health and Social Care published a comprehensive Impact Assessment that sets out the costs of benefits of the policies. In the long term, the measures in the Bill aim to reduce smoking prevalence by preventing smoking uptake.