General Article Smoke-free England by 2030: on track or unrealistic?

Topic Selected: Smoking and Health Book Volume: 406

In July 2019, the Government stated its ambition of going ‘smoke-free’ by 2030 in England. In Scotland, the target is 2034, while Northern Ireland and Wales have not yet set a date. In practice, ‘smoke-free’ involves reaching 5% average adult smoking prevalence. The Government has acknowledged that this goal will be ‘extremely challenging’ to achieve. Over the last 35 years, smoking rates in Britain have halved. According to Cancer Research UK, currently around 15% of UK adults smoke cigarettes. This is among the lowest rate in Europe.

A February 2020 report from Cancer Research UK states that to reach the 5% target by 2030, the pace of change needs to be ‘40% faster’ than is currently predicted.

Smoking: a habit in decline

Smoking was banned in enclosed public places in Scotland in 2006, and the rest of the UK in 2007. Also in 2007, the minimum age for purchasing tobacco rose from 16 to 18 in Scotland, England and Wales. Plain packaging for cigarettes was introduced in 2016, follow...

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