ASH at 50


On 2 December 2021, ASH commemorated its 50th anniversary at an event hosted by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP). The event featured key figures in UK tobacco control discussing how to achieve the Smokefree 2030 ambition set by the Government.

ASH also released a new analysis, which found that since its inception 8 million people in the UK lost their lives to smoking. An estimated 2 million more are expected to die in the next 20 years, without radical changes to smoking rates.

In response to this news, ASH has begun to commemorate the 8 million whose lives were taken by tobacco in the past 50 years.

Watch below to see leading figures in UK and international tobacco control reflect on ASH’s efforts to end the smoking epidemic over the last 50 years.

How has life changed since 1971?

From February to July 2003, a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising covering all media came into force, banning print, billboard, and direct mail, as well as sponsorship of domestic events.
In 2005, the final part of the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act 2002, banning tobacco sponsorship of global sports such as Formula One motor racing, came into effect.
On the 1st July 2007, it became illegal to smoke in enclosed public places and workplaces in England, including work vehicles, hire cars and public transport. The legislation resulted in 1200 fewer emergency admissions to hospital for heart attacks in the following year.
To protect child passengers from secondhand smoke, a ban on smoking in cars carrying children under 18 came into force in October 2015.
Graphic picture warnings illustrating the dangers of smoking became mandatory on the back of packs from October 2008. In May 2016, standardised packaging was introduced, prohibiting any branding other than the brand name in small typeface on the pack.
For further information on the origins and work of ASH, read our 50th anniversary report, written in conjunction with the Royal College of Physicians.

ASH 50th anniversary event at the Royal College of Physicians

On 2 December 2021, ASH commemorated its 50th anniversary at an event hosted by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP). The event featured key figures in UK tobacco control discussing how to achieve the Smokefree 2030 ambition set by the Government. 

Speakers

0:00 –  09:55 Dr Andrew Goddard, President of the RCP – Welcome and introduction

09:55 – 23:00  Lord Young of Cookham who has seen ASH go from strength to strength during his 47 years in parliament, as a health minister and leading parliamentarian in both houses.

23:00 – 40:05 Professor Sir Richard Peto sets out progress on reducing smoking-related death and disease over 50 years and future projections.

40:05 – 59:55 Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH, discusses the challenge we still face if we are to deliver the Government’s ambition of a Smokefree 2030.

Press release

Commemoration reel

New analysis to mark the 50th anniversary of ASH finds that smoking killed nearly 8 million people in the UK over the last 50 years with an estimated 2 million more expected to die in the next 20 years without radical changes to smoking rates.
ASH was set up in 1971 to end the harm from smoking. Smoking rates have fallen dramatically since then but smoking has still claimed nearly 8 million lives. This page is a tribute to those we have lost.