John Denham has voiced his concerns over recent statistics released by Cancer Research UK which show that Southampton is above the national average both for the number of people diagnosed with cancer, and a higher mortality rate.
In response to this, Mr Denham is supporting the plain packaging of tobacco products as an important way to prevent young people from taking up smoking.
- According to statistics from Cancer Research UK, Southampton has a higher incidence rate (416 per 100,000) than the English average (391 per 100,000).
- Southampton also has a higher mortality rate of people under the age of 75 (46 per 100,000) than the English average (39 per 100,000).
- Smoking remains by far the largest preventable cause of cancer and, though the last Labour government did much tackle it, there is more we can do to protect young people.
- Eight out of ten smokers start by the age of 19. If we are to discourage children from ever starting, we need to look at the marketing of a highly addictive and seriously harmful product.
- After the Labour Government banned advertising, tobacco manufacturers developed increasingly sophisticated marketing devices for their packaging.
- As Health Secretary, Andy Burnham proposed that the next front in this fight should be packaging and the Government’s consultation on this issue is welcome.
In April this year, the Government launched a consultation into whether tobacco should be sold in plain packaging.
John Denham is urging people in Southampton to sign Cancer Research UK’s campaign petition at http://www.theanswerisplain.org/ before the Government closes its consultation on plain cigarette packaging.
The Department of Health recently extended the consultation deadline until Friday 10 August following requests to provide more time.
Mr Denham said:
“It concerns me greatly that not only does the Southampton area have a higher than average rate of cancer, but that the rate of deaths from cancer is also higher than the national average.
“We need to discourage young people from taking up the habit in the first place. That is why I support the plain packaging of tobacco products, a subject I have received a significant number of letters about from my constituents. I am also giving my full support to Cancer Research’s The Answer is Plain campaign and hope Southampton residents will sign their online petition.”