1 August 2015

In light of the proposed measures from the Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) on changes to tobacco regulations, which were released yesterday [13th August 2015], the British Dental Health Foundation is fully supporting the calls for changes from the government, businesses and consumers.

The proposals include; introducing a smoking exclusion zone outside schools, pubs and bars where the public can no longer smoke, the mandatory sale of e-cigarettes or NRT wherever tobacco is sold and the inclusion of e-cigarettes in smoking cessation services.

Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, who is also a long term trustee of the Royal Society of Public Health states: "There needs to be major changes made to protect the next generation from deadly diseases, such as mouth cancer, which are caused by through cigarette smoking.

"Smoking is heavily linked to many serious oral health problems including gum disease, which is the most common cause of tooth loss in UK adults; it is also responsible for the majority or mouth cancers and is the direct cause of thousands of deaths every year.

"Every year almost seven thousand people in the UK are diagnosed with mouth cancer, and it leads to more deaths than testicular and cervical cancer combined.

"The recommendations made by the RSPH in their report, ‘Stopping smoking by using other sources of nicotine', outlines some very sensible and effective ways in which we can change attitudes and behaviours when it comes to smoking, saving countless lives.

"Unlike the original smoking ban, which focussed on the dangers of second hand smoking, these measures are designed to stop the behaviour of people smoking in highly visible areas from influencing the behaviour of children and other individuals.

"If we can get smokers to use safer forms of nicotine, like e-cigarettes, in prominent public locations we will hopefully change the perception of nicotine as a seriously harmful product itself. In fact, outside of cigarettes and in low doses nicotine is no more harmful to health than caffeine.

"But as the report stated ‘public confusion reigns, with 9 in 10 believing nicotine is harmful to health', where in reality it is the many other chemicals in cigarettes, such as arsenic, which are the cause of many deadly diseases.

"If the government adopt the recommendations in this report then there is an opportunity to have the same effect as the 2007 smoking ban, which has saved thousands of lives by encouraging people to quit smoking. Over 400 000 people gave up in the years succeeding the ban, whilst 7 million still smoke 65% of these express a wish to quit. The cost to the NHS of treating smoking related illness is estimated at some £13 billion a year and half of those who smoke will die of smoking related disease."

The British Dental Health Foundation is supporting the RSPH in lobbying the government and making smoking become seen as "abnormal" by the public through introducing the following measures:

  • Introduction of a smoking exclusion zone around pubs, bars and schools - allowing use of e-cigarettes but not allowing cigarette smoking
  • Greater utilisation of e-cigarettes by smoking cessation services
  • Mandatory sale of Nicotine Replacement Therapy in shops selling cigarettes. In one study fewer than 0.5% of retailers sold Nicotine Replacement Therapy
  • Licensing of all purveyors of cigarettes so that Local Authorities can remove the license of any retailers found not to be acting in accordance with tobacco legislation, such as age restrictions and the display ban
  • Renaming e-cigarettes nicotine sticks or vapourisers to distance them from cigarettes