Following a review into plans to make England smoke-free by 2030, the legal smoking age could be raised from 18 to 21, reports The Telegraph.
Health secretary Sajid Javid commissioned the independent review that is fronted by Javed Khan, the former chief executive of the children’s charity Barnardo’s and is said to be “radical”.
Apart from the issue of the minimum smoking age, the review also includes the suggestion of new taxes on tobacco company profits as well as recommending the NHS do more to encourage smokers to switch to vaping or e-cigarettes.
According to The Telegraph, Javid had considered recommending that the minimum age for smoking be raised to 25 and is thought to be in favour of major changes to the government’s tobacco policy, including tightening rules on sales. Khan supports a “polluter pays” approach and said in the review that his findings would “help highlight key interventions which can help the government achieve its ambitions to be smoke-free by 2030 and tackle health disparities”.
Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is not thought to be in favour of increasing the minimum smoking age as 18 is the threshold of legal responsibility in England, reports The Telegraph.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said of the review that was supposed to be published next week but has since been delayed: “Tackling issues such as smoking is a priority for the office for health improvement and disparities and a key part of the government’s levelling up agenda. This is why we launched the independent review of our bold ambition to make England smoke-free by 2030. The review will provide independent, evidence-based advice on potential interventions that will inform our approach to tackling the stark health disparities associated with tobacco use – and we look forward to seeing the report in due course.”