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National report on smoking released

Friday May 21st 2021

New ideas for cutting smoking levels in the UK have been published in a report by the Royal College of Physicians.

Professor John Britton and Dr Nick Hopkinson, both of the College's Tobacco Advisory Group, led the report titled 'Smoking and Health 2021: a coming of age for tobacco control'.

Published yesterday, it outlines the progress made in tobacco control since the College’s first report 'Smoking and Heath', which was published in 1962. It includes a series of policy recommendations which the authors consider necessary in order to end tobacco smoking in the UK.

These include a call for all smokers to be provided, "routinely and on an opt-out basis", with smoking cessation treatment by the NHS. This approach could double the uptake of the service, say the authors.

Further recommendations cover tax policy, media promotion of smoking, the priority given to treatment of tobacco dependency, public health campaigns, and "silencing the voice of the tobacco industry".

Professor Britton said: "Ending smoking requires us to go even further with the more familiar prevention measures, but also tackling some of the causes that have not yet been addressed – and particularly the exposure of children to tobacco imagery in film, television and other media.

"Doing this will prevent countless deaths, and, by alleviating poverty and improving health, contribute significantly to the levelling up of our society."

Dr Hopkinson adds: "Support to quit smoking is one of the most effective and highest value treatments that the health care system can deliver, but many smokers are missing out on this.

He concludes: "Smoking is a health issue right across the life course - raising the age of sale from 18 to 21 has the potential to reduce smoking uptake dramatically among children and young people and help to make smoking obsolete."

Tags: Drug & Alcohol Abuse | UK News

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