Examination of witness

Part of Tobacco and Vapes Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 11:09 am ar 30 Ebrill 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Paul Farmer:

We work with people over the age of 50, which may be news to some of you here. One of the reasons why we have recently chosen to drop the age group that we increasingly work with is precisely for prevention and early intervention.

This is not the earliest intervention; you can, of course, argue that many health interventions need to take place among children and younger people. However, from an Age UK point of view, we know that there is potential to intervene in people’s lives and support them to live healthier lives—it is not just about health, but in this context it is mainly about health—which means that your healthy life expectancy can improve and, as I mentioned earlier, you can fulfil some of the ambitions of your later life. The burden on the NHS of unhealthy life expectancy is a big issue.

The bulk of our direct work is with people over pensionable age, if you like. In each of those generations, you see the differences in experiences of smoking. Somebody now in their 80s or 90s almost certainly will not be alive if they are a heavier smoker, because they probably will not have benefited from any of the public health information that has taken place under previous Governments, so that is obviously the major difference.

In terms of the different health conditions, we know that certain health conditions will increase with age. Dementia is the greatest example of that, where we know that the older you are, the more likely you are to develop dementia. In a sense, as our population as a whole has gotten healthier and lived longer, it has become increasingly apparent where those health inequalities are at their most acute.