Health plans tackle cheap alcohol, teen smoking and other problems in UK

The British Government in a bid to stop common health problems is planning on banning teenage smoking and cheap alcohol and also wants to encourage mothers to breastfeed at work said Health Secretary Andrew Lansley. They are due to publish a public health white paper this week and Mr. Lansley confirmed that the Government had some plans up their sleeve to curb common health problems and health related inequalities. The ‘Tory’ right did not appreciate the move saying it amounted to “micromanaging” people’s lives.

Among other plans there are talks about introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes, banning low cost alcohol sales and piloting the introduction of workplace breastfeeding areas by private employers. Supermarkets will be banned from selling wine, beer and spirits below a national minimum price, which would be determined by adding together VAT and the cost of duty on the product. Ministers are also reported to be considering a rise in the duty paid on super-strength beer, as part of the Police and Social Responsibility Bill that is also due to be published.

Mr. Lansley said that there was no overregulation and sometimes it was appropriate for the state to intervene in people's lives for the sake of their health. He said, “We are very keen to ensure that we don’t over-regulate, that we minimize regulation…We have tried a lot of things and we do need occasionally to intervene. But more than that we need to support people. Especially some of the poorest in our society need to have the greatest support because health inequalities are too wide. We need to deliver improvements in the health of the poorest in this country the fastest.”

Public Health Minister Simon Burns said, “What the government has done over the last few months is consult and look into the whole area of alcohol-related problems and considering whether or not to stop the supermarket from selling alcohol below cost and looking at the licensing laws because we believe that every Friday, Saturday night there are too many incidents up and down the country with people fuelled by alcohol causing anti-social behaviour, acts of violence and criminal activity…We believe that actually having a system where supermarkets and other retail outlets are not able to sell below the cost price is a better way forward.”

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.

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