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BMA briefing: Tobacco control plan

We are a member of the SFAC (Smokefree Action Coalition), a group of organisations committed to promoting public health and reducing the harm caused by tobacco.

Doctors witness first-hand the devastating effects of smoking-related diseases on their patients, and so we have a long history of supporting measures to reduce tobacco-related harm. Despite a long-term decline in smoking prevalence in the UK, nearly one in five adults still smoke and tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable premature death and ill health, accounting for around 100,000 deaths per annum.

The BMA is deeply concerned that an estimated 207,000 children and adolescents (aged 11-15) take up smoking every year in the UK.

The government must introduce a new tobacco control strategy, without delay, to replace the outdated tobacco control plan, ‘Healthy Lives, Healthy People: a tobacco control plan for England’.

A new strategy is vital for England to achieve a continued decline in smoking rates.


Executive summary

A new tobacco control strategy is urgently needed in England to replace the five year plan introduced by the Government (2011-15). A comprehensive and sustained strategy is essential to reduce the incidence of smoking-related diseases and to achieve a tobacco-free society by 2035, which the BMA believes is an important goal.

To be successful, this strategy must focus on four key tobacco control goals:

  1. discouraging and deterring people from starting to smoke (prevention)
  2. reducing the harm caused by smoking and helping smokers to cut down and quit
  3. protecting others from second hand smoke;
  4. de-normalising tobacco products and reducing the influence of the tobacco industry.

It is vital that the Government supports these tobacco control goals through a variety of approaches: policy and legislative changes; education and information campaigns; smoking cessation services and harm reduction approaches; and measures which impose greater accountability on the tobacco industry.


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Tobacco control plan for England

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