Two years after its commitment to make England smoke-free by 2030, the UK government has failed to deliver on the policy it promised to achieve this goal, say a number of leading doctors, professional associations and charities. BMJ today.
An open letter to the prime minister and health minister says smoking is likely to have killed more people than covid-19 last year and will continue to do so for many more years unless the government takes action.
They demanded a U.S.-type “polluter pays” fee from tobacco manufacturers to fund the strategy, saying “it’s time to get tobacco manufacturers to pay to end the epidemic they and them alone.”
The rate of decline in smoking in the years prior to 2019 was not sufficient to achieve this goal, they explain. Over the past two years, it has been estimated that more than 200,000 children under the age of 16 have started smoking, two-thirds of whom become regular smokers.
Achieving the Smokefree goal “would play an important role in achieving the government’s manifesto commitments to increase healthy life expectancy by five years by 2035 while reducing inequality and leveling the nation,” they write.
A plan to achieve this is set out in the forthcoming anti-smoking plan of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health (APPG), but needs to be properly funded.
The APPG report sets out how a tax on manufacturers could collect £ 700 million in the first year alone, without the cost being passed on to smokers now that we have left Europe. “This could cost the submission of an anti-smoking plan and provide the additional funding that public health desperately needs.”
They point out that in 2019, Imperial Tobacco made £ 71 for every £ 100. “These are extreme profits, many times greater than those produced by other consumer goods manufacturers,” they say. “It’s time to get tobacco manufacturers to pay to end the epidemic they and them alone.”
Increase the legal purchase age to reduce smoking levels among young people, the expert urges
An open letter to the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary on the second anniversary of England announcing that it would be non-smoking by 2030, BMJ, DOI: 10.1136 / bmj.n1839
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Reference: The government has not delivered a smoke-free promise to England (July 21, 2021). Retrieved July 21, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-07-free-pledge-england.html
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