In March, the Health Secretary, Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, and his team called for the number of people dying prematurely in England to be reduced. Introducing standard tobacco packs would help reduce premature death and there are health, economic and moral reasons for it.
The document outlining their call to action, Living Well for Longer, contains a fairly ordinary sentence that is probably in every health document written since the ‘60s: “Tobacco use is the single biggest behavioural risk factor for premature death”.
Perhaps an ordinary sentence, but an extraordinary statistic. Shouldn’t it still shock us that thousands of people die from their habit every year, many in their middle age? To put that ‘ordinary’ statement in context, smoking kills five times more people than road accidents, overdoses, murder, suicide and HIV all put together in the UK.