Responding to the recommendations in today’s Khan Review on the Government’s tobacco policy, Dr David Strain, chair of the BMA’s board of science, said:
“The Khan Review is an important step towards a Smokefree 2030 – a vital target for our public health. Every day more than 200 people in England die from smoking and 280 children under 16 have their first cigarette. Up to two-thirds of smokers die prematurely, losing on average 10 years of life.
“The extra £125m investment recommended here is very welcome. The Government’s Tobacco Control budget has been cut by a third in real terms since 2015, so to an extent this extra investment would be making up lost ground, but if the money cannot come from central funding, then the cigarette and cigar manufacturers need to dip into their pockets and, as the Khan Review recommends, ‘make the polluter pay’.
“In any case, the extra investment would pale in comparison to the £2.4 billion smoking costs the NHS, the £1.2 billion of social care costs and the further £13 billion accrued from lost productivity due to premature death, disease and disability.
“If fewer people smoke then fewer will need what is often long-term care from the NHS, so we urge the Government to take action as soon possible. The public would be behind them, with a substantial majority supporting a range of Government interventions, and only 6% thinking the Government is doing too much.
“We will continue to work with campaigns like Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) to press for a smokefree future.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.