Legal smoking age could rise to 21 under Sajid Javid’s ‘radical’ plans to make just five per cent of Britons smokers by 2030
- Legal smoking age could rise to 21 under ‘radical’ review ordered by Sajid Javid
- The aim is to cut the number of smokers to just five per cent of Britons by 2030
- Review may also call for more taxes for tobacco giants, to fund quitting support
The legal smoking age could rise to 21 under ‘radical’ plans from Sajid Javid to cut the number of smokers to just five per cent of Britons by 2030.
The health secretary commissioned an independent review into the tobacco industry, which is expected to recommend a rise to the purchase age of cigarettes, as well as new taxes for company profits.
It is also likely to suggest the NHS does more to promote e-cigarettes and vapes to smokers, sources say.
Smoking has 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
The legal smoking age could rise to 21 under ‘radical’ plans from Sajid Javid to cut the number of smokers to just five per cent of Britons by 2030. File image
Most studies have shown that e-cigarettes cause less harm than cigarettes, but long-term impacts of vaping are unclear.
The review is being led by Javed Khan, who has previously supported taxing tobacco companies to fund anti-smoking campaigns.
This could include a levy on companies that make £700 million each year, used to fund quitting support and e-cigarettes on the NHS.
The former Barnardo’s CEO has taken quite a ‘radical’ stance in meetings for the review, a source told The Telegraph.
The paper reported that multiple sources close to the health secretary, who stopped smoking when he took on the role last year, expect an increased age limit recommendation.
It could be raised from 18 to 21, but considerations were also made for 25, it has been reported.
But with the Government considering 18 as the age of legal responsibility, a Downing Street source told the paper that Boris Johnson may not feel the age should be raised.
The report is also likely to suggest the NHS does more to promote e-cigarettes and vapes to smokers. File image
In 2019, the Government set a target of becoming smoke-free by 2030. This is measured as just five per cent of adults smoking, not total eradication of the habit.
But one source told the Telegraph that Tory backbenchers are ‘nervous’ about a ‘nanny state attack’ on smoking.
They added: ‘Sajid Javid is interested in health inequality and he is interested in tackling public health issues, but the Government is in hock to right-wing MPs.’
It is thought that Mr Javid will use the report, expected to be published in coming weeks, to call for some kind of reform on the industry.
The report’s recommendations will be consulted on before the Government announces any new policy.