‘War on smoking’ starts Monday

Thursday 10 July 1997
ASH/ Press releases/
Press ReleaseASH News Release – Sunday 13th July 1997

“War on smoking” starts on Monday

On Monday 14th July, the Public Health Minister, Tessa Jowell, will launch a radical shake up of tobacco control in the UK. At the Government’s Anti-Smoking Summit in London, experts will consider what measures should be included in the Government’s new policy.

“No-one knows what will happen at the Summit, but there are some radical ideas on the table, and these could amount to a declaration of war on smoking” says Clive Bates, Director of ASH.

The meeting could set the ball rolling for some very dramatic changes within five years. These are some of the outcomes that ASH will be arguing for:

  • The £5 packet – this would happen by 2002 if prices are increased at 7% ahead of inflation by raising cigarette taxes. This could save over 12,000 lives per year, but smoking 20 a day would cost £18,000 over 10 years – more if the tax rises continue.
  • No more cigarette adverts and other promotional gimmicks, but instead massive anti-smoking campaigns, like the successful drink-driving initiative.
  • One pence in every pound of tobacco tax used to fund anti-smoking campaigns. Currently tax of £9 billion is raised per year.
  • No more Formula 1 or other sport sponsorship by cigarette companies (for example the Williams F1 team is sponsored by Rothmans). New sponsors will change the face of motor racing, cricket and snooker.
  • Cigarettes in plain white boxes with bigger, bolder warnings including a longer list of the harmful ingredients such as carbon monoxide and any additives.
  • Every cigarette box to carry the ‘Helpline’ freephone number – 0800 169 0 169.
  • Pubs and restaurants with smoke-free areas and everyone with the legal right to clean air at work and public places.
  • Official classification and regulation of nicotine as an addictive drug. Treatment from the NHS for nicotine addiction and support from doctors, midwives, and specialist clinics to give up. Nicotine patches on the NHS.
  • Legal age raised to 18, proper licensing of retailers and stiff penalties for those who break the law by selling to underage smokers or buying underage.

“Smoking kills 300 people every day in Britain and half of all smokers are likely to die from it” said Bates “but smokers who quit now will improve their health and save a fortune”.


For more information contact:

Clive Bates, Director (020) 7739 5902
Amanda Sandford, Communications Director (020) 7739 5902