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Friday, July 12, 2013

I'm disappointed about these government U-turns that disfavour Public Health

I'm disappointed about the two current government U-turns that disfavour Public Health, namely an indefinite delay in the introduction of plain cigarette packaging and the anticipated abandonment of plans for minimum alcohol pricing in England and Wales. Disappointed, but not, of course, surprised. The opportunity to accord a modicum of protection to children's health by making smoking less of a temptation before they become addicted is obviously so much preferable/more likely to be effective than attempts to beat addiction to smoking as an adult. But our government is more concerned about tobacco industry profits than about child health. And similarly is more concerned about the profits of the alcohol trade than about the appalling and increasing harm that heavy drinking is causing, notably in young people and in particular young women, and tragically pregnant mothers who continue drinking too much alcohol during their pregnancies, thus giving birth to babies suffering with terrible health problems from the very start of their damaged, shortened lives.

This government made clear its lack of concern about public health shortly after coming into power, when Andrew Lansley, then Secretary of State for Health, put the profits of the Food Industry above the health of UK citizens, by opposing and reversing the planned ban on synthetic trans fats in processed food products. He mendaciously painted the intended ban as an example of a 'nanny state'.