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Government Advised To Raise Legal Smoking Age And Increase It Year On Year

Government Advised To Raise Legal Smoking Age And Increase It Year On Year

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The government has been advised to raise the legal smoking age and increase it year on year.

A review has recommended that the legal age to smoke in England should rise from 18 by one year every year.

It also recommends the promotion of vapes as an effective 'swap to stop' tool to help people quit smoking, as well as improving prevention in the NHS so smokers are offered advice and support to quit at every interaction they have with health services.

Dr Javed Khan, who led the review, said: "Without immediate and sustained action, England will miss the smoke-free target by many years and most likely decades.

"A smoke-free 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.

The government has been advised to raise the legal smoking age in England.

"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.

"It was a privilege to work on this review and get the opportunity to improve the health of people across the country, and I look forward to seeing the government’s response."

Khan is the former CEO of children's charity Barnardo's, and has previously confirmed that he was considering recommending an increase to the age smoking age.

Speaking to The Times back in March, he said: "We are thinking seriously about the age of sale."

Making comparisons with the pandemic, he added: "Just look at the Covid experience, mass marketing has a big effect, it really works. 

"The government went hell for leather, it made an enormous difference in vaccination rates."

It was previously reported that the report would suggest the government also go after tobacco companies with new taxes.

The levy could bring in £700 million a year, which the report will recommend spending on smoking-cessation services, advertising campaigns and providing e-cigarettes to smokers on the NHS.

Javid - who quit smoking when he became health secretary last year - has previously urged people to harness the 'power of families' to make a difference to the health of their loved ones, recalling when his father quit smoking at the request of his mother.

"When I was around five, my dad was a smoker," he said during a speech at the Royal College of Physicians in March.

"I remember standing at the top of the staircase and overhearing a conversation my mum was having with my dad, she said 'if you die, your boys won't have a dad' and he never smoked again.

"That kind of intervention is more powerful than most of us can imagine.

"We've got to recognise the power of families to make a difference when it comes to health care, whether it's stopping drug addiction, or dealing with depression, there's no more powerful motivating force than family."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: UK News, Politics