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26Jul

Following last week’s announcement that plain packaging would be put on hold, the decision to shelve minimum alcohol pricing has been met with dismay by many leading health experts.

While Minister Jeremy Browne has said the policy would remain under consideration, there was not enough “concrete evidence” minimum pricing could reduce the harmful effects of problem drinking without hurting those who drank responsibly.

We believe the Government has made the wrong decision. Deaths from tobacco use and alcohol are entirely preventable. It seems the Government has caved into pressure from both industries and in doing so has failed to cut levels of mouth cancer.

Both plain packaging and minimum alcohol pricing would help to reduce the number of people who develop the disease. Tobacco use and drinking alcohol to excess are the leading risk factors for mouth cancer, a disease many experts have forecast will rise over the next decade.

More than half of all current smokers will die through a tobacco-related illness, and it is still the biggest cause of mouth cancer. As alcohol aids the absorption of tobacco into the mouth, those who smoke and drink to excess are up to 30 times more likely to develop the disease.

So instead of heralding health improvements in the UK, too much time is still being spent talking about action.

People are drinking more and more these days and, with many so called ‘social smokers’ having a cigarette while they drink the likelihood is that the mouth cancer and other alcohol-related diseases will continue to rise until people are forced to take notice.

Over the years we campaign ceaselessly to raise awareness of mouth cancer. The disease kills more people than cervical and testicular cancer combined. During the next decade we estimate that around 60,000 people in the UK will be diagnosed with the disease, and without early detection half will die. Worldwide, over 460,000 people are expected to die from mouth cancer each year by 2030.

We hope the Government will take greater responsibility for public health and drive forward the changes needed.

Written by Dr Nigel Carter

  

Oral Health Foundation

The Oral Health Foundation is a charity that works to improve oral health by providing education, advice, and support to millions of people every year, changing lives for the better. Our mission is to support others in achieving a healthier life through better oral health. Our vision is to live in a world where everybody has a healthy mouth and is free of dental disease. Poor oral health can have a harmful and devastating effect on a person’s life – both for their physical health and mental wellbeing. We are determined to help more people achieve good oral health and have a better quality of life. Sadly, oral disease remains common, across the life course. We are taking the challenge to reduce the harm caused by poor oral health and the responsibility to create a healthier future for everybody. We do this because we believe that everybody deserves to have good oral health. To make sure this happens, by 2024, we will:

    • Work towards decreasing the prevalence of oral disease across communities.
    • Increase the number of people accessing our help and information services.
    • Diversify our range of resources to reach more communities.
    • Successfully campaign for policies which help people achieve healthier lives.
    • Generate new and nurture existing income streams that enable us to deliver our charitable objectives.

We are going to achieve success by:

    • Running awareness campaigns like National Smile Month and Mouth Cancer Action Month.
    • Giving anybody who needs it direct support through our Dental Helpline.
    • Influencing policy on subjects like dental access, sugar, and tobacco.
    • Providing consumer advice on oral health care products and working alongside manufacturers to make sure products do what they claim to do.
    • Creating resources and information that communicates positive oral health messages.
    • Working alongside others who share our passion for health and wellbeing.

To find out more about us, visit our website at https://www.dentalhealth.org/

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