The Tobacco Control Plan lists the government’s plans for a “smoke free” England, hence reducing smoking rates to 5% or less, which would equate to roughly one in 20 people being smokers.
Thanks to the country’s efforts to decrease smoking, an example of which is endorsing vaping products for smoking cessation, the UK is boasting the second lowest smoking rates in Europe after Sweden.
However, the UK government intends to go further. In the document published earlier today, titled, Towards a Smokefree Generation, A Tobacco Control Plan for England, it talks about its “bold ambition for a smoke-free generation” and plans to cut smoking rates from the current 15.5% to 12% or less by 2022.
Additionally, the government is aiming to reduce smoking rates amongst young adults from the current 8% to 3% or less, by 2022, and from 10.7% to 6% or less amongst pregnant women.
A focus on incorporating cessation aides
The plan encourages localities to develop their own tobacco control strategies, with a focus on e-cigarettes and other harm reduction or smoking cessation aides. In 2016 Public Health England (PHE), released a study which found that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking, and the organization will be updating its evidence report on e-cigarettes and other devices, whilst including any new useful data yearly, until 2022.
The plan also includes special assistance for smokers with mental health issues, as figures indicate that 40% of people with mental health problems are smokers. Additionally the report also also mentions providing special support to prisoners.
Another point mentioned in the plan was the monitoring of the UK’s exit from the EU in order to “identify where we can sensibly deregulate without harming public health”, including taking a fresh look at the Tobacco Products Directive, (TPD) since it greatly applies to e-cigarettes.
Towards a smoke-free generation
“Britain is a world leader in tobacco control, and our tough action in the past decade has seen smoking rates in England fall to an all-time low of 15.5%. But our vision is to create a smoke-free generation.” said public health minister Steve Brine, adding, “Smoking continues to kill hundreds of people a day in England, and we know the harms fall hardest on some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in our society.”