The Department of Health unveiled a new Tobacco Control strategy today to halve the number of smokers from 21% to 10% of the population by 2020. Different measures are being considered including the removal of branding from packets and banning cigarette vending machines, as will happen in Scotland in 2011.

The new strategy will also ensure that every smoker will be able to get help from the NHS to suit them if they want to give up. Research by the Department of Health shows that seven out of ten smokers want to quit. Last year alone, over 370,000 people stopped smoking thanks to the free support from the NHS.

The key points set out in the strategy are:

- Stopping young people being recruited as smokers by cracking down on cheap illicit cigarettes. Immediate investment in extra overseas officers will stop 200 million cigarettes entering the UK every year.

- Every smoker will be able to get help from the NHS to suit them if they want to give up - new types of support will be available at times and in places that suit smokers.

- The Government will carefully consider the case for plain packaging.

- Stopping the sale of tobacco from vending machines - a significant source of tobacco for young people.

- Protecting everyone, especially children, from the harms of second-hand smoke by promoting smokefree homes and cars and reviewing smokefree law.

This review will include, for example, whether to extend legislation from enclosed public places and workplaces to areas like entrances to buildings.

Health Secretary Andy Burnham said: "We've come so far and now we'll go even further, to push forward and save even more lives.

"This strategy renews our commitment to virtually eradicate the health harms caused by smoking, and I firmly believe we can halve smoking by 2020. In 10 years' time, only one-in-10 people will smoke."

Dame Helena Shovelton, Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation said: "We welcome the Department of Health plans to halve the number of smokers in England over the next ten years. We support the Government to review the smokefree law which aims to protect everyone, especially children from the harms of second-hand smoke inside the home and car.

"It is estimated that domestic exposure to second-hand smoke in the UK causes around 2,700 deaths a year in people aged 20-64 and a further 8,000 deaths among people 65 years and older. The British Lung Foundation offers support to anyone affected by a smoking-related lung disease and works closely with the NHS to provide help and advice to any smoker looking to quit."

Notes

The British Lung Foundation is the only UK charity working for everyone affected by lung disease. The charity focuses its resources on providing support for people affected by lung disease today; and works in a variety of ways (including funding world-class research) to bring about positive change, to improve treatment, care and support for people affected by lung disease in the future.

It provides information via the website lunguk.

One person in every seven in the UK is affected by lung disease - this equates to approximately 8 million people

Respiratory disease is the second biggest killer in the UK (117,456 deaths in 2004) after all non-respiratory cancers combined which only account for slightly more deaths (122,500 deaths in UK in 2004)

Respiratory disease now kills one in five people in the UK

The UK's death rate from respiratory disease is almost double the European average and the 6th highest in Europe

Respiratory disease is the most commonly reported long term illness in children and the third most commonly reported in adults. One in 7 boys and 1 in 8 girls aged 2 - 15 report having long term respiratory illness in England

Source
British Lung Foundation

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