On World No Tobacco Day, the Royal College of Physicians has responded to Cancer Research UK analysis that estimates that tobacco causes the death of one person every five minutes in the UK.
Professor Sanjay Agrawal, chair of the Royal College of Physicians’ Tobacco Advisory Group, said:
“The figures released by Cancer Research UK make for more distressing reading about the significant and avoidable impact smoking has on public health.
“Smoking remains the leading cause of cancer, is a significant driver of health inequalities, and we’ve long known that people experience greater ill health the longer their tobacco use.
“At a time when our NHS is stretched more than ever before, funding for mass media campaigns, raising the age of sale of cigarettes and providing opt-out smoking cessation services to all smokers at any point of contact with the NHS would have a significant impact. We need to be bold – now is also the time to consider the ‘polluter pays’ levy.
“If there is ever a time to call on government to help people quit, it is now.”