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Press Release

APPG Smoking and Health and ASH welcome Rishi Sunak’s announcement on smoking

04 Oct 2023

The APPG and ASH are delighted by the Prime Minister’s clear signal in his speech today he wants to put delivering a smokefree 2030 at the heart of his public health legacy.

Access the full DHSC press release:

The government have announced they will:

  • Legislate to raise the age of sale one year every year from 2027 onwards
  • Double the funding for local authority Stop Smoking Services from next year
  • Increase funding for awareness raising campaigns by £5 million this year and £15 million from next year onwards
  • Increase funding for enforcement on illicit tobacco and e-cigarettes by £30 million from next year
  • Launch a consultation shortly on specific measures to tackle the increase in youth vaping

Bob Blackman CBE MP, Chairman of the APPG on Smoking and Health said:

“We congratulate the Prime Minister for sending a clear message in his speech today that this government is determined to live up to its smokefree ambition. The recommendations set out in the Khan independent review on smoking have been taken on board, and there will be immediate benefits to smokers, to the NHS, to social care and to public finances. We look forward to seeing his words turned into action, with commitments in the King’s speech in November to legislation in the forthcoming parliamentary session.”

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of health charity ASH, said:

“The Prime Minister has today announced an unprecedented set of measures to protect the next generation and hasten the day when smoking is obsolete. Children are four times as likely to start smoking if they grow up with smokers, and once they do it’s highly addictive and difficult to quit. The twin track approach of raising the age of sale and tougher enforcement to stop young people starting, matched by substantial additional funding to motivate addicted smokers to quit and provide them with the support they need to succeed, will help get us on track to a smokefree future. We look forward to the day when smoking is no longer responsible for avoidable ill health and perinatal mortality in babies and young children, nor the leading cause of premature death in adults.”

The detail behind the Prime Minister’s announcements in his speech is set out in a Command paper and documents modelling the impact:

Former smoker Sue Mountain has undergone treatment three times for laryngeal cancer as a result of smoking. She said:

“I know the heartbreak of smoking. Like most I started when I was a kid, before I realised how addictive it was. You never start out as a child imagining a specialist saying ‘you have cancer’ or the tens of thousands of pounds wasted. That regret comes later.

“The main thing is the government is saying enough is enough. It’s not good enough to let our young people become the lung cancer and COPD patients of the future, just so cigarette companies can make billions. It might not stop everyone under that age smoking, but it will save a lot of lives. Nobody who starts smoking young ever thinks they’ll smoke for life.

“Tobacco companies are making massive profits from an addiction that robs people of their lives and their health. I believe they need to pay for the damage they do. People like me don’t want their kids or grandchildren or any other family go through what we went through.”


Notes to the Editor

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Smoking and Health is a cross-party group of MPs and Peers which was established in 1976. The purpose of the APPG is “To monitor and discuss the health and social effects of smoking; to review potential changes in existing legislation to reduce levels of smoking; to assess the latest medical techniques to assist in smoking cessation; and to act as a resource for the group’s members on all issues relating to smoking and public health.”

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) provides the secretariat for the APPG on Smoking and Health. ASH is a health charity working to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco use. ASH receives funding for its programme of work from Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.

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