Wales politics

£400k to cut smoking in Wales, Welsh Government announces

Man smoking Image copyright PA

Almost half a million pounds has been announced to try to slash smoking rates in Wales.

A decade after a smoking ban was introduced, 19% of adults now smoke in Wales - a 5% drop since before it came in.

The Welsh Government announced £417,000 for campaign charity ASH Cymru to try to cut it 3% further by 2020.

But pro-smoking group Forest said setting targets to reduce smoking was "wrong".

On Monday, Public Health Minister Rebecca Evans will visit Malpas Court Primary School in Newport, where she will say the smoking ban in indoor places has been a "huge success".

The new money, spread over a three-year period, will be used to help reach Welsh Government targets of reducing the prevalence of adult smoking to 16% by 2020.

It comes a day after the 10th anniversary of the introduction of the smoking ban in Wales.

'Healthier happier lives'

Chief executive of ASH Cymru Suzanne Cass, said the funding would help them support the remaining 19% still addicted to tobacco to choose smoke-free and lead "healthier, happier lives".

Simon Clark, director of smokers' group Forest, said any further anti-smoking measures would be "fiercely resisted" as adults were entitled to smoke without "unreasonable restrictions on their habit".

"Instead of punishing smokers the Welsh Government should engage with consumers," he said.

"A carrot is far better than a stick and the best way to reduce smoking rates is to embrace choice and encourage smokers to switch to alternative nicotine products such as e-cigarettes."

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