A government-commissioned review which took place on Thursday (9 June) recommended that the age at which people can buy tobacco in England should be increased by a year each year as the first step towards a ‘free smoke”. .
In England, the minimum age is now 18.
Javed Khan, who is the former head of children’s charity Barnardo’s, has advised that the age be increased every year so that one day no one can buy tobacco.
“Without immediate and sustained action, England will miss the tobacco-free target by years and most likely decades,” Khan said.
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The review also recommends 15 suggestions to help the government achieve a smoke-free environment by 2030.
“A smoke-free society should be a social norm, but to achieve it we need to do more to prevent people from starting to smoke, help those who already smoke and support those who are disproportionately affected by tobacco use,” said he added.
Notably, nearly six million people in England smoke. It is the leading cause of preventable disease and death, with around one in four deaths due to smoking, according to official figures.
A similar plan was also introduced by New Zealand in 2021.
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