Children should be banned from ever being able to buy cigarettes, according to recommendations unveiled today.

The age limit for purchasing cigarettes in England, currently set at 18, should rise by 12 months every year until no one can legally buy a tobacco product, a Government review has set out.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid tasked former children’s charity chief Javed Khan with finding ways England could be smoke-free by 2030 — defined as less than five per cent of people smoking, compared to the current 15 per cent.

However, the proposed policy, which is being rolled out in New Zealand and means anyone born after 2008 will never be able to buy cigarettes, is expected to be rejected by ministers.

Among the review’s 15 recommendations are proposals for the NHS to prescribe e-cigarettes and vapes to smokers. And tobacco giants could face an extra £700million in tax every year to fund quitting support and e-cigarettes on the NHS.

It also suggests that supermarkets and websites should be banned from selling tobacco and retailers should have to apply for a tobacco license to limit where cigarettes can be sold. 

The recommendations in Dr Khan’s tobacco report are expected to go out to consultation before they are implemented. 

Radical plans to raise the legal smoking age could be announced on Thursday, when an independent report is due to land. Among the review's 15 recommendations are proposals for the NHS to prescribe e-cigarettes and vapes to smokers

Radical plans to raise the legal smoking age could be announced on Thursday, when an independent report is due to land. Among the review’s 15 recommendations are proposals for the NHS to prescribe e-cigarettes and vapes to smokers

Around 6million people smoke in the UK and it is behind 64,000 deaths every year. The NHS spends £2.4billion every year treating smoking-related conditions. The map shows adult smoking rate in Britain through colours representing increasing ranges of prevalence, from the 3.4 per cent to 10.3 per cent range, up to the 17.2 to 27.5 per cent range. The highest smoking uptake is found in parts of the North West, East Midlands, South Yorkshire, East of England and South West

Around 6million people smoke in the UK and it is behind 64,000 deaths every year. The NHS spends £2.4billion every year treating smoking-related conditions. The map shows adult smoking rate in Britain through colours representing increasing ranges of prevalence, from the 3.4 per cent to 10.3 per cent range, up to the 17.2 to 27.5 per cent range. The highest smoking uptake is found in parts of the North West, East Midlands, South Yorkshire, East of England and South West

The graph shows the prevalence of smoking in England, reducing from 19.8 per cent in 2011 to 13.9 per cent in 2019. The chart then shows the projected trend downwards to 2.5 per cent in 2050

The graph shows the prevalence of smoking in England, reducing from 19.8 per cent in 2011 to 13.9 per cent in 2019. The chart then shows the projected trend downwards to 2.5 per cent in 2050

The graph shows responses from 18 to 24 year olds and all respondents to a question asking if they think that the Government is doing enough to limit smoking. Just four to six per cent believe the Government is doing too much, while around half think it is not doing enough

The graph shows responses from 18 to 24 year olds and all respondents to a question asking if they think that the Government is doing enough to limit smoking. Just four to six per cent believe the Government is doing too much, while around half think it is not doing enough

THE KHAN REVIEW: WHAT ARE THE 15 RECOMMENDATIONS? 

Health Secretary Sajid Javid tasked former children’s charity chief Javed Khan with finding ways England could be smoke-free by 2030 — defined as less than five per cent of people smoking, compared to the current 15 per cent. 

The Khan review set out 15 recommendations to meet the target, which it warned England will miss by at least seven years without action. It labelled the first four ‘critical’ proposals.

1.  Invest in reaching smokefree 2030

The report calls for an extra £125million to fund ‘easily accessible’ and ‘high quality that smokers need to help them quit’. 

This should include an extra £70million in stop smoking services which should be funded by making ‘the polluter pay’ through a tobacco industry levy or upping corporation tax ‘with immediate effect’ if the Government cannot foot the bill itself.

2. Increase the age of sale

It sets out that the legal purchasing age should be increased from 18 ‘by one year, every year until no one can buy a tobacco product in this country’.

3. Promote vaping 

Under the plans, doctors should promote vaping to patients as an ‘effective tool to help people to quit smoking tobacco’. 

‘We know vapes are not a “silver bullet” nor are they totally risk-free, but the alternative is far worse,’ the review states.

4. Improve prevention in the NHS

Dr Khan urged the NHS to ‘do more’ to help smokers by offering them advice and support to quit every time they come into contact with the health service, including through GPs, hospitals, psychiatrists, midwives, pharmacists, dentists and optometrists.

5. Increase cost of duty on all tobacco products by more than 30%

His review also sets out that the cost of tobacco duties should be increased by more than 30 per cent. This would target cheaper products, such as hand rolled tobacco, so they are treated the same as standard cigarette packs.

6. Bring in tobacco licence for retailers and ban supermarkets from selling cigarettes

Dr Khan also called for tobacco licences for retailers to limit where tobacco is available, as well as a banning the products from being sold online and in supermarkets.

7. Give local authorities powers to close down shops selling illicit tobacco

He said £15million per year should be given to local trading standards so they can close down retailers selling illicit tobacco and take more action on products such as shisha, which are ‘routinely sold with no regard for regulations’ but are often ‘ignored by enforcement agencies’.

8. Reduce the appeal of smoking by changing look of packets and cigarette sticks

The report recommends ‘radically rethinking’ how cigarette sticks and packets look to reduce the appeal of smoking 

9. Strengthen smokefree legislation in hospitality, hospital ground and public spaces

More places, such as hospitality, hospital grounds and outdoor public spaces, should become smoke-free to ‘de-normalise smoking and protect young people from second-hand smoke’, while at least 70 per cent of new social housing tenancies and developments should be smoke-free, the review states. 

10. Invest £70million into stop smoking services every year

Ministers should invest £70million annually into stop smoking services every year, including updating stop smoking guidance, ensuring national helplines complement other services and encouraging employers to stop workers from smoking. 

11. Invest £15million per year in campaigns to tackle myths about smoking and vaping

Some £15million per year should go towards mass medica campaigns that direct smokers to support and ‘dismantle myths about smoking and vaping’. 

12. Invest £15million annually to help pregnant women to quit smoking

Another £15million should support pregnant women to quit, including support from the NHS, financial incentives to support expectant mothers to stop smoking and employing a stop-smoking midwife in every maternity department. 

13. Warn that smoking does not reduce stress and anxiety through campaigns and training

Information should be issued on smoking and mental health, including advice that smoking does not reduce stress and anxiety.

14. Invest £8million in ensuring public health directors set stop smoking targets and report results

On top of this, £8million should go towards ensuring public health directors set stop smoking targets and report results from their area, including a fund that integrated care systems bid for to access extra support. 

15. Invest £2million in new research and data to identify new interventions

And £2million should be put towards gathering data to identify evidence-based interventions that can be rolled out nation-wide. It would also go towards more research on smoking-related health disparities. 

 

Around 6million people smoke in the UK and it is behind 64,000 deaths every year. The NHS spends £2.4billion every year treating smoking-related conditions.

The Khan review found that England will miss its 2030 smoke-free target by at least seven years without action. And smoking rates in the poorest parts of the country will not fall below five per cent until 2044.

The report sets out four ‘critical recommendations’, including increasing the legal purchasing age from 18 ‘by one year, every year until no one can buy a tobacco product in this country’.

It also calls for an extra £125million to fund ‘easily accessible’ and ‘high quality that smokers need to help them quit’. 

This should include an extra £70million in stop smoking services which should be funded by making ‘the polluter pay’ through a tobacco industry levy or upping corporation tax ‘with immediate effect’ if the Government cannot foot the bill itself. 

Under the plans, doctors should promote vaping to patients as an ‘effective tool to help people to quit smoking tobacco’. 

‘We know vapes are not a “silver bullet” nor are they totally risk-free, but the alternative is far worse,’ the review states.

Dr Khan urged the NHS to ‘do more’ to help smokers by offering them advice and support to quit every time they come into contact with the health service, including through GPs, hospitals, psychiatrists, midwives, pharmacists, dentists and optometrists.

Dr Khan said: ‘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. ‘

‘My proposals are not just a plan for this government, but successive governments too. 

‘To truly achieve a smoke-free society in our great country, we need to commit to making smoking obsolete, once and for all.’

His review also sets out that the cost of tobacco duties should be increased by more than 30 per cent. This would target cheaper products, such as hand rolled tobacco, so they are treated the same as standard cigarette packs.

Dr Khan also called for tobacco licences for retailers to limit where tobacco is available, as well as a banning the products from being sold online and in supermarkets.

He said £15million per year should be given to local trading standards so they can close down retailers selling illicit tobacco and take more action on products such as shisha, which are ‘routinely sold with no regard for regulations’ but are often ‘ignored by enforcement agencies’. 

The report recommends ‘radically rethinking’ how cigarette sticks and packets look to reduce the appeal of smoking. 

More places, such as hospitality, hospital grounds and outdoor public spaces, should become smoke-free to ‘de-normalise smoking and protect young people from second-hand smoke’, while at least 70 per cent of new social housing tenancies and developments should be smoke-free, the review states. 

Ministers should invest £70million annually into stop smoking services every year, including updating stop smoking guidance, ensuring national helplines complement other services and encouraging employers to stop workers from smoking.

Some £15million per year should go towards mass medica campaigns that direct smokers to support and ‘dismantle myths about smoking and vaping’.

Another £15million should support pregnant women to quit, including support from the NHS, financial incentives to support expectant mothers to stop smoking and employing a stop-smoking midwife in every maternity department.

On top of this, £8million should go towards ensuring public health directors set stop smoking targets and report results from their area, including a fund that integrated care systems bid for to access extra support.

And £2million should be put towards gathering data to identify evidence-based interventions that can be rolled out nation-wide. It would also go towards more research on smoking-related health disparities. 

Information should be issued on smoking and mental health, including advice that smoking does not reduce stress and anxiety.

Professor Sanjay Agrawal, chair of the Royal College of Physicians tobacco advisory group, who contributed to the UK review, said it would be ‘very welcomed’ if the New Zealand-style approach was adopted in the UK.

He told Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I think we need to do everything possible that we can to reduce the uptake of smoking in children.

‘We know that most people become addicted to tobacco in their teenage years and certainly before the age of 25 and we know that smoking prevalence in that age group is highest compared to all other age groups. 

‘Anything that we can do to reduce uptake is welcomed.’

Professor Sanjay Agrawal said the rule would be a ‘gradual’ one that increases the age every year, while a US-style approach, where the age increased from 18 to 21 was more severe.

But he said the New Zealand approach should be part of a ‘suite of measures’ that also helps current smokers to quit and for smoking to be made ‘less affordable and available’. 

He said that Britain has to take the opportunity to ‘support the next generation so they are not exposed to the harms of smoking’.

Professor Agrawal said: ‘I work in a hospital. My clinics are full sadly of people who come to harm from smoking, either with cancers, heart attacks, strokes, other lung diseases. 

‘The effect of smoking is still very prevalent and we need to do more to stop our youth from ever taking up that habit. And when I speak to smokers they regret ever having started.

‘We know smoking is an addiction and once you get hooked in it is very difficult to stop. Preventing it to begin with is by far the best way forward.’

The review, which will be published later this morning, has been plagued by repeated delays amid speculation its recommendations were met with pushback.

The minimum age for tobacco purchases was raised from 16 to 18 across Britain in 2007, when it also became illegal to smoke in enclosed spaces.

Officials followed up the measures in 2017 with a policy that meant all branded packaging had to be replaced with plain greenish-brown boxes. 

As well as controversially raising the legal age, the call for new taxes would come at a time when Boris Johnson has been urged to cut taxes to save his job.

The PM has vowed to get back to the ‘fundamental Conservative instinct’ of reducing the tax burden, after narrowly surviving a no confidence vote.

Smoking has steadily decreased since 1974, with around 15 per cent of the population smoking in 2019. That year, the Government set a target of becoming smoke-free by 2030

Smoking has steadily decreased since 1974, with around 15 per cent of the population smoking in 2019. That year, the Government set a target of becoming smoke-free by 2030

Could cigarettes be slapped with INDIVIDUAL warnings? 

Tobacco manufacturers would have to use eight different warnings in rotation on its sticks and rolling paper under the terms of the Cigarette Stick Health Warnings Bill (a mocked up version of one of a warning)

Tobacco manufacturers would have to use eight different warnings in rotation on its sticks and rolling paper under the terms of the Cigarette Stick Health Warnings Bill (a mocked up version of one of a warning)

Printing health warnings on individual cigarettes would make England a world leader in eradicating smoking, ministers were told earlier this year.

Tobacco manufacturers would have to use eight different warnings in rotation on its sticks and rolling paper under the terms of the Cigarette Stick Health Warnings Bill.

These would include ‘smoking kills’ and other messages to highlight the devastating health effects, the financial cost and contact details for advice on quitting.

Conservative peer Lord Young of Cookham has spent four decades lobbying for his proposal to become law. 

He first raised it as a health minister in Margaret Thatcher’s government in 1979.

Last month he scrapped plans for a ban on multibuy junk food after being convinced that now was the wrong time to heap more costs on families already struggling with the cost of living crisis.

Sir Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, will attend the report’s launch today, along with health minister Maggie Throup and the shadow health minister Andrew Gwynne.

Industry sources have described its recommendations as ‘quite radical’. 

Simon Clark, director of the smokers’ group Forest, said: ‘You don’t have to be 21 to know that smoking is potentially harmful to your health, it’s drummed into every child from an early age.

‘If you can legally have sex at 16, drive a car at 17 and purchase alcohol at 18, you should be allowed to make an informed choice to buy tobacco at 18.

‘In the eyes of the law you are an adult at 18 and you should be treated like one.’

Smoking rates in the UK have fallen from about half of the population in the 1970s to just 15 per cent now. 

But use increased by 25 per cent among the under-30s during the pandemic, the equivalent of more than 600,000 new smokers.

The Government aims to slash smoking rates to just 5 per cent by 2030.

But Mr Khan, in an interview before his review, warned the target would not be met without action to restrict sales.

His report is also rumoured to include a levy on companies that make more than £700million each year.

This will then be used to fund quitting support and e-cigarettes on the NHS, according to sources.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said cutting cigarette use remained one of its top priorities.

But the Prime Minister is under pressure from all corners of his own party to move away from nanny-state and high tax policies.

Mr Johnson told the Cabinet yesterday he wanted to get back to his Tory instinct of cutting taxes as the next general election approaches.

He stressed to Cabinet colleagues that delivering tax cuts would help produce ‘considerable growth in employment and economic progress’. 

The PM also ordered ministers to bring forward new initiatives to slash Government spending in order to free up cash for tax cuts. 

Mr Johnson introduced a manifesto-busting national insurance hike in April to fund the NHS’ recovery from the pandemic.

His Government also brought in a windfall tax on gas and oil companies this month to soften the energy crisis for families.

A DoH spokesperson said: ‘Tackling issues such as smoking is a priority for the office for health improvement and disparities, and a key part of the government’s levelling up agenda. 

‘This is why we launched the independent review of our bold ambition to make England smoke-free by 2030.

‘The review will provide independent, evidence-based advice on potential interventions that will inform our approach to tackling the stark health disparities associated with tobacco use – and we look forward to seeing the report in due course.’



Source link