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Government commits to protect public health policy from tobacco industry interference

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The government is committed to protect public health policy from the interference of the tobacco industry, Public Health minister Jo Churchill told the Parliament on Thursday night.

The minister’s statement follows recent revelations that a leading tobacco manufacturer has attempted to subvert the UK Government’s tobacco policy.

During an adjournment debate on the topic, Bob Blackman MP, who is the Chairman of All Party Group on Smoking and Health, asked the minister to reaffirm the government’s commitment to the UK’s obligation to Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and its guidelines.

“In answer to my honourable friend’s direct question we will absolutely remain firmly committed to the Convention and importantly Article 5.3 during the transition period and beyond,” the minister said in response.

The article urges the countries to protect public health policies regarding tobacco control from the commercial and vested interests of tobacco companies in terms of formulation and implementation of these policies.

“I am very proud that in the first Global Tobacco Industry Interference Index published last year we were rated number one for the work that we do to protect public health policy from tobacco companies, but I take on board that we need to continue on that path,” she added.

The minister also confirmed that the government’s response to the Prevention Green Paper consultation will be published shortly.

Bob Blackman MP said: “In the Prevention Green paper the Government promised to consider how tobacco manufacturers could be made to fund tobacco control measures, in line with the polluter pays approach in place in the US. This would raise a fixed sum from tobacco manufacturers, without in return giving them a seat at the table to influence tobacco policy.”

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