‘Raise minimum smoking age’, says review

The minimum age for buying cigarettes should be raised by one year annually until no-one is able to take up smoking in England, an independent review into smoking has recommended.

As well as raising the minimum age of sale, the review also recommends the Government invests £125 million a year in a comprehensive ‘smokefree 2030 programme’, with a ‘polluter pays’ levy placed on tobacco companies to help fund the investment.

Cllr David Fothergill, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “Smoking-related illness is one of the leading causes of preventable death in the UK and is a major challenge for our health and social care system.

“As well as impacting upon health, smoking places a significant burden on the public purse – to the tune of £12.6 billion each year.

“We strongly support the recommendation that government must urgently invest an additional £125 million for tobacco control to achieve its ‘smokefree 2030’ ambition.

“There is increasing evidence that e-cigarettes act as an important gateway to helping people to stop smoking and it is good this is recognised in this report, but also that it is vital to regulate them effectively and enforce the laws stringently, so as to keep them out of the hands of children.

“Quitting smoking is the single most important thing you can do to improve your health. Smokers are four times more likely to succeed in quitting when using a local stop smoking service.

“Councils want to go faster in improving the health of their communities, including becoming smoke free, but this needs to be supported by adequate funding and stronger government policies, including taking forward the recommendations of this review.”

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