A new report has concluded that England will miss the government target of being smokefree by 2030 by at least seven years, subsequently calling for £125m of additional investment per year.
The report, titled Making smoking obsolete, was published today and led by Dr Javed Khan OBE, found that the government’s manifesto commitment of extending life expectancy by five years by 2035 wouldn’t be met without further action and investment.
Khan also concluded that the government’s ambition to save more lives as part of the 10-Year Cancer Plan will not be fulfilled, unless further steps are put in place.
In light of his findings Khan put forward four critical ‘must do’ recommendations for the government:
- Increased Investment – An additional £125m per year should be invested into ‘smokefree 2030’ policies, including £70m ringfenced for stop smoking services.
- Increase the age of sale – The age of sale for tobacco products should be increased by one year, every year.
- Promote vaping – Actively promote the use of vaping as an effective tool to quit smoking, even if it is not a panacea.
- Improve prevention in the NHS – The NHS should use every opportunity and interaction they have with smokers to offer advice on how to quit smoking, whether that’s via GPs, hospitals, psychiatrists, midwives, pharmacists, dentists, or optometrists.
The prevalence of smoking in England reduced from 19.8% in 2011 to 13.9% in 2019, with that projected trend to continue to 2.5% by 2050.
The review also shows that 52% of 18-24-year-olds think the government isn’t doing enough to limit smoking, with 48% of the rest of the population also agreeing the government needs to do more.
These testimonies corroborate Khan’s call for the government to increase and intensify their efforts to reduce and ultimately stamp out smoking in England.
Dr Javed Khan said in the review: "A smokefree society should be a social norm – but to achieve this, we must do more to stop people taking up smoking, help those who already smoke and support those who are disproportionately impacted by smoking.
"My holistic set of recommendations for government will deliver this, whilst saving lives, saving money and addressing the health disparities associated with smoking."
Cancer remains one of the most prominent killers globally and stopping people smoking is one of the health sector’s priorities.
More information about the review can be found here.