The UK government needs to go ‘further and faster’ than it ever has before in the fight against tobacco if it wants to hit its smoke free targets, MPs have warned.
An influential group of cross-party politicians has unveiled its recommendations for eradicating smoking in the UK by 2030.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health (APPG) called on the government to take bold action and use its post-Brexit freedom to curb tobacco-related deaths.
It said: “We have been a world leader in tobacco control for well over a decade and have been instrumental in helping shape the development of EU policy.
“However, while we were a member of the European Union, we could not speak for ourselves…now we can and should.
“The EU’s ambition is to be Smokefree by 2040…our government plans to get there a decade earlier.”
Coinciding with a crucial parliamentary debate on smoking and vaping regulation, the APPG’s ‘Delivering a Smoke Free 2030’ report outlines a number of strategies to end the tobacco epidemic.
Key recommendations include:
- Legislate to make tobacco manufacturers pay for a Smokefree 2030 Fund to bring an end to smoking
- Consult on raising the age of sale for tobacco from 18 to 21
- Ensure all pregnant smokers are given financial incentives to quit in addition to smoking cessation support
- Changing misperceptions and addressing misinformation surrounding e-cigarettes and vaping products and
- Standardising access to stop smoking services including vaping
The report has gained the support of the industry, with advocacy groups applauding it for acknowledging the vital role that vaping plays in helping people quit.
John Dunne, Director General of the UKVIA, said:
“We warmly welcome this report and endorse efforts and recommendations designed to encourage smokers to make a less harmful choice.
“We are pleased to see among the recommendations proposals for the expanded use of e-cigarettes, which have helped more than one million British smokers to transition from combustible tobacco in the last decade.”
John Dunne, UKVIA
Dunne explained that many of the APPG’s suggestions align with the UKVIA’s own views, with the trade body’s ‘Blueprint for Better Regulation’ also urging the government to use vaping in the fight against tobacco.
“The Government’s smoke free targets can be put firmly back on track by encouraging more of the UK’s seven million smokers to consider vaping as a method of quitting.
“For far too long vaping has suffered from myths and misconceptions about both its safety and effectiveness in helping smokers quit.
“That situation must now change, and we watch with interest to see how the APPG on Smoking and Health’s recommendations are received by Government.”
John Dunne, UKVIA