Cancer Research UK Report On Smokefree 2030 Progress

A report published by Cancer Research UK (CRUK) investigates how likely it is for the UK to reach the Smoke Free 2030 goal.

*Spoiler* it is not looking promising…

1/ A 🆕 report by @CR_UK has revealed that if trends continue:
📉 the UK Government will not reach its target for England to become smokefree until 2039
🚬 smoking could cause around 1 million cancer cases in the UK between now and 2040

Read the report 👉

— CRUK Policy (@CRUK_Policy) December 29, 2022

You can read the full report in PDF format here.


The UK is aiming to be “Smoke Free” by 2030 as set out by the UK Government in 2019. Becoming Smoke Free is basically classed as 5% or less adult smoking prevalence.

Recommendations in the Khan Review were presented to the Government to help develop policies to make this happen. Sadly this seems to have gone “off the boil”.

There is a dedicated website to try and push through action for Smokefree 2030. The website consists of a coalition between over 300 organisations under the banner “SFAC” (Smoke Free Action Coalition).

Also the coalition are supporting the APPG (All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health).

The APPG are very Pro-vaping and are tasked with encouraging smokers to vape but also prevent making vaping attractive to under 18’s.

Included in the SFAC coalition are ASH (Action on Smoking and Health), Cancer Research UK, NCSCT (National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training), British Heart Foundation, British Lung Foundation, Asthma UK plus many more big hitters.

Some of the SAFC members

The Cancer Research Report investigates progress towards the goal and what action is still needed.

Report Contents

The report mentions the 2019 Smoke Free 2030 plan and uses ONS (Office for National Statistics) Annual Population Survey data to help plot future smoking patterns.

Using this data the report aims to find out

What year England will reach 5% average adult smoking prevalence.
What increase to the projected pace of change in adult smoking prevalence is needed to reduce the numbers down to the important 5%.


Projections were created until 2040 – there are some guesses at beyond 2040 but these are to be interpreted with caution according to the report.

The report states…

“If recent smoking prevalence trends continue, average adult smoking prevalence in England will reach 5% in 2039 (see Figure 1). To reach average adult smoking prevalence of 5% by 2030 in England the pace of change needs to be around 70% faster than is projected (see Table 1)”


The report says that although the smoking prevalence rates have been naturally falling in England, the most recent data shows this decline has slowed down.

So naturally falling rates cannot be relied upon to reach the 5% goal. The projections show at the current pace the goal of 2030 will be almost a decade late in 2039.

CRUK say…

“CRUK encourages the UK government to take bold action to reduce smoking prevalence in order to achieve the smokefree target.

There we go – the ball is in the Governments court now, they have been given advice and recommendations by Javed Khan, CRUK and the APPG and still the situation does not appear to have changed.

It is also worth noting that all the above recommendations viewed vaping as a potential method of cutting smoking rates and said it should be encouraged for smokers to switch to vaping. Obviously there are regulation hurdles to be tackled but even so vaping was viewed in a positive way. When you see the shitshow in the US I can only be grateful our authorities and health bodies back vaping.

CRUK Recomendations

The report states…

“Achieving a smokefree society will help to prevent cancers, save lives and reduce the pressure on the NHS and the wider economy.

“This report shows that the UK Government has fallen further off track in achieving its 2030 smokefree target for England. In order for the UK Government to achieve this target, they must take bold action to reduce smoking rates by stopping the start, and starting the stop of smoking.”

2/ Whilst smoking rates are declining, progress has slowed. To reach England’s Smokefree 2030 target, smoking rates need to drop around 70% faster.
We need @SteveBarclay to publish a bold & funded Tobacco Control Plan for England to get back on track. More from @Michelle_CRUK 👇

— CRUK Policy (@CRUK_Policy) December 29, 2022

3/ The Tobacco Control Plan for England needs to include:
✅ action to prevent young people starting to smoke, including a consultation on raising the age of sale
✅ funding for the media campaigns & stop smoking services needed to help people stop smoking

— CRUK Policy (@CRUK_Policy) December 29, 2022

4/ If @hmtreasury cannot pay for the tobacco control needed to reach #Smokefree ambitions, we think the industry, not the taxpayer, should be made to foot the bill for the damage their products cause.

— CRUK Policy (@CRUK_Policy) December 29, 2022

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