Scientific societies and public health groups endorse the Health Ministry’s Comprehensive Plan for Smoking Prevention and Control

Mar 25, 2024 | Current affairs, Featured, Revista Lloseta, Thursday Daily Bulletin, Tradition

The Minister of Health, Mónica García, and the Director General for Public Health and Health Equity, Pedro Gullón, have presented the new Comprehensive Plan for Smoking Prevention and Control 2024-2027 to scientific societies, public health organisations and youth groups.

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Health Ministry’s Comprehensive Plan for Smoking Prevention and Control

Among other improvements, the Health Department aims to ensure that young people do not start smoking, that the number of adult ex-smokers increases and that there are more smoke-free spaces to prevent second-generation smoke.

The minister stressed that “we cannot afford to lose 140 people a day to the smoking epidemic”, which means one death every 10 minutes and 50,000 a year. Some 460 young people a day take up the habit. “Fifteen years ago we were pioneers” with legislation, he said, and now the aim is to move forward along these lines.

Currently, 25% of 12-year-olds have vaped and 50% of older adolescents. “The new forms of tobacco are a gateway to smoking and the legislation needs to be updated to improve health protection,” said García, referring to vapers.

To this end, there is a broad consensus among scientific societies, public health bodies, the public at large and the autonomous communities, to move forward with this plan, with measures such as those that already exist in some regions.

The ministry is waiting to receive contributions from the communities, which requested a little more time, until 27 March, to make their proposals.

“I believe that the communities are responsible for the protection of health”, as the Spanish Constitution also stipulates, said the minister, who said that society is asking for courage in this regard.

Once they have been received, the plan will be taken to a new extraordinary Public Health Commission and, subsequently, to the plenary session of the Interterritorial Council on 5 April.

The president of the National Committee for the Prevention of Smoking, which represents 45 associations and scientific societies, Francisco Pascual, thanked the Ministry of Health for being able to be a partner in this Plan and highlighted the consensus based on scientific evidence. “Now, he said, we must be vigilant that the measures are complied with”.