RCP backs cross-party calls for measures to reduce smoking prevalence

A cross-party group of MPs have today released Delivering the vision of a ‘Smokefree Generation’, a report outlining a number of measures aimed at reducing smoking prevalence in the UK population to 5% or below.  

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Smoking and Health report, backed by 17 health charities and medical organisations, including the RCP, is calling for government to implement a wide range of regulations. These include raising the legal smoking age to 21, tightening rules on showing smoking on TV and in films, and increasing the annual tobacco tax escalator to 5% above inflation (from 2%), as well as calling for the collection and publication of tobacco manufacturers’ sales and marketing data, to monitor the behaviour of the industry.   
 
Dr Sanjay Agrawal, chair of the RCP Tobacco Advisory Group, said:

We must ensure we reduce the enormous burden of smoking to health and society, and it is only through implementing all of the APPG’s recommendations that we can achieve this. It is important the government adopts a properly integrated approach, from introducing public education campaigns and reducing exposure to smoking on television, to making smoking less accessible for young people.

It is important the government adopts a properly integrated approach, from introducing public education campaigns and reducing exposure to smoking on television, to making smoking less accessible for young people

Dr Sanjay Agrawal, chair of the RCP Tobacco Advisory Group

Tory MP Bob Blackman, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health, added: 

Smoking remains the leading cause of premature death and health inequalities. Ratcheting up tobacco regulation further and faster is essential to achieve the government’s vision for prevention, to increase healthy life expectancy while reducing inequalities between the richest and poorest in society.

Smoking remains the leading cause of premature death, killing nearly 80,000 people in England and 100,000 in the UK as a whole per year. Half the difference in life expectancy between the richest and poorest in society is solely due to smoking.