England unlikely to hits its target to curb number of smokers by 2030
The Government will not hit its target to curb the number of smokers in England by 2030, Cancer Research UK has said.
In 2019 ministers set out an ambition for England to become “smoke-free” by 2030 – which is said to be achieved when adult smoking rates fall to 5% or less.
However, the charity says that progress in cutting the number of smokers has “slowed” and it will take almost an extra decade to reach their goal.
A new report from the charity adds that in 2030, some 8.3% of the population will describe themselves as smokers.
Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of Cancer Research UK said: “Smoking remains the largest preventable cause of cancer and death in the UK, but the Government has the power to change this.
“With bold action and strong leadership, we can ensure a future free of tobacco for reducing cancer and saving lives.
“We urge Steve Barclay to continue his legacy of being bold with tobacco control to reduce the number of people getting and dying of smoking-related cancers, relieve the pressure on the NHS, and save the country billions of pounds each year.”
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Recommendations that the charity has made to Health Secretary Steve Barclay include raising the age at which people can buy cigarettes and investing more in stop-smoking services.
They added if the Government cannot afford this, it should make the tobacco industry “foot the bill”.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “The Government remains committed to its Smokefree ambition by 2030, and the action we are taking means smoking rates in England are at an all-time low.
“We continue to enforce strong regulations around the sale of cigarettes which help smokers to quit and protect future generations from starting this lethal addiction.
“We are currently considering the wide range of recommendations set out in the Khan Review and how best to take these forward – with next steps to be set out in due course.”