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£200m to tackle Scottish ill-health

07 November 2011

The Scottish Secretary for Health Nicola Sturgeon has pledged to continue tackling health inequalities – with more than £200m set aside over the next three years to spend on preventing the ill-health caused by alcohol misuse, smoking and obesity.

Smoking and alcohol costs Scotland an estimated £4.66bn a year in terms of lost productivity, impacts on health services and the criminal justice system as well as the toll on children, families and communities.

Smoking has long been recognised as the most important preventable cause of ill-health and premature death in Scotland. Each year it is linked to some 13,500 deaths and 33,500 hospital admissions.

And it is estimated that a one per cent increase in sport and physical activity would yield a £3.5 million saving each year from coronary heart disease, stroke and colon cancer alone.

Sturgeon confirmed that over the next three years the Scottish government will invest:
• £126m to support the continued implementation of the alcohol framework. This will include preventative measures such as alcohol brief interventions, diversionary activity for young people and services for those with existing alcohol problems and their families. The money will also be invested in reducing alcohol treatment waiting times
• £40m on a broad programme of smoking reduction measures including NHS cessation services and smoking prevention activities across
• £10.5m delivering weight management services including child healthy weight, which aims to change how children eat and how active they are to stop BMI increase
• £7.5m on projects to encourage healthy eating including the Health Living Award for caterers and the Healthy Living Programme for convenience stores. Work with the manufacturing industry is also underway to reduce the calories and salt content of food
• £3m on initiatives to support increasing physical activity building on current jogging and walking programmes and other projects aimed at encouraging people to get and stay active
• £34m rolling out the Keep Well health checks which offers all 40-64 year olds living in deprived communities the opportunity to attend a health check.

Sturgeon said: “Scotland’s long-standing problems cannot be addressed overnight but we are taking and will continue to take significant action to address them through our efforts to reduce alcohol consumption, cut smoking rates, encourage active living and healthy eating, and promote positive mental health.”

Clear the Air says:

The population of Scotland is 5.2 million, which is 2 million less than Hong Kong.

Yet Scotland is allocating HK$ 497 million on a broad programme of smoking reduction measures including NHS (ergo, free) cessation services and smoking prevention activities.

Clear the Air  asks why Hong Kong is not allocating a  similar level of funding which thereby shows a lack of political will by the Administration to eradicate smoking at a faster rate.

Meanwhile HK Customs Department statistics of duty paid cigarette sales in 2011 shows the retail elasticity of tobacco products remains too affordable here and is also not adjusted for inflation. We need the excise portion to be at least 75% of  retail price, adjusted for inflation  and to at least match the current cumulative Singapore taxation levels. (Marlboro / Singapore retail price HK$72 per packet)

Hong Kong Budget Speech 2011

Tobacco Control

161.      Studies by the World Health Organization have clearly shown that increasing tobacco duty is an effective means of tobacco control. For public health protection, I propose to increase the duty on cigarettes by $0.5 per stick or 41.5 per cent. Duties on other tobacco products will also be increased by the same percentage. The above adjustments take immediate effect by way of a Public Revenue Protection Order gazetted today. The Customs and Excise Department will step up law enforcement to contain cigarette smuggling. We will also make greater effort to provide smoking cessation services.

Additional HK$26 million for tobacco control

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