Delays will damage our health

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Town hall chiefs have hit out at delays in introducing measures to reduce the impact of cheap booze and tobacco on residents’ health.

The Government has put on hold proposals for the introduction of plain packaging on cigarette packets.

It is also expected to backtrack on plans for a minimum price for alcohol.

But Coun Ivan Taylor, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, today warned that to stand back “just isn’t good enough.”

Referring to the tobacco issue, he added: “If the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is truly committed to public health then tackling smoking should be his top priority.

“There is a very real issue, both in Blackpool and across the country, of smoking having a dangerous effect on people’s health.

“In the town, 400 people die prematurely and a further 8,000 will suffer from a smoking related disease every year.”

Coun Taylor added: “We truly believe that introducing a minimum price per unit for alcohol will be a positive step towards reducing alcohol dependency in Blackpool.

“People can currently buy alcohol at an eye-wateringly cheap price, which creates some real health problems.”

The Government says it has delayed a decision on plain packaging for cigarettes so more time can be spent examining how similar plans have worked in Australia.

It is set to leave the majority of alcohol sales untouched, but plans to ban retailers from selling alcohol below cost price will be resurrected, targeting ‘loss-leader’ deals.