MEPs say young people under 21 should no longer buy cigarettes to stop smoking by 2030

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MEPs say young people under 21 should no longer buy cigarettes to stop smoking by 2030

  • All party parliamentary groups on smoking and health have recommended raising the age
  • Part of stricter regulations to protect young people and help smokers quit
  • The recommendations are supported by charities and medical organizations

MPs have called for talks on raising the age of sale of cigarettes from 18 to 21 in a bid to end the ‘tobacco epidemic’ by 2030.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health has recommended raising the age as part of stricter UK regulations to protect young people from smoking and help smokers quit.

The recommendations, supported by charities and medical organizations, also include a “polluter pays” amendment to the Health and Social Care Act to get funding for a tobacco control program, requiring manufacturers to pay to end smoking.

MPs have called for consultations on raising the age of sale of cigarettes from 18 to 21 in a bid to end the ‘tobacco epidemic’ by 2030 (stock image)

The cross-party group of MPs and colleagues has warned the government that it can only build ‘better and fairer’ for the pandemic by making smoking obsolete and must now commit to the actions needed to secure its vision of a smoke-free 2030 .

The report notes that last year and this year probably more people died from smoking than from Covid-19.

It also calls for targeted investment to provide additional support to help smokers quit in regions and communities where smoking causes the most harm.

This includes those who have routine and manual jobs, are unemployed, live in social housing, or who have a mental illness or are pregnant.

The report suggests broad public support for the recommendations: more than three-quarters (76 percent) of the public support the government’s Smoke-Free 2030 ambition.

About 77 percent support making tobacco companies pay a levy or license fee to the government for measures to help smokers quit smoking and prevent young people from starting smoking – while 63 percent support raising the selling age from 18 to 21.

The recommendations also include a 'polluter pays' amendment to the Health and Social Care Act to secure funding for a tobacco control program, requiring manufacturers to pay to end smoking (stock image)

The recommendations also include a ‘polluter pays’ amendment to the Health and Social Care Act to secure funding for a tobacco control program, requiring manufacturers to pay to end smoking (stock image)

APPG Chairman Bob Blackman said: “Our report outlines measures that will put us on track to achieve the government’s ambition to end smoking by 2030, but they cannot be achieved without funding.

Tobacco manufacturers are making extreme profits by selling highly addictive, deadly products, while the government coffers are empty due to Covid-19.

“The manufacturers have the money, they need to be paid to end the epidemic.”

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, said: “We all applauded when the government announced its ambition for a smoke-free 2030. But that was two years ago, the time has now come to deliver.

‘Currently, the number of smokers is not falling fast enough. If, as requested by the APPG, the recommendations in its report are implemented in 2022, we can be on track to make smoking obsolete by 2030.”

Alison Cook, Director of External Affairs at Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, said: ‘Smoking still accounts for 35 per cent of all respiratory deaths in England each year and it is still the leading cause of preventable lung diseases such as lung cancer and Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

“We welcome the recommendations in this report, including targeted support for people to successfully quit this deadly addiction.

“If the government is serious about achieving its own goal of becoming smoke-free by 2030, it needs to do much more by urgently providing sustainable funding for the delivery of smoking cessation services in the NHS and in the community, as there is a wide offer. very effective in supporting people to quit.

“If we don’t act now, we will continue to see thousands of people die each year from preventable lung diseases related to smoking.”

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