Doctors witness first-hand the devastating effects of smoking on their patients.
The BMA has a long history and strong policy for supporting measures to reduce tobacco-related harm, and has developed wide-ranging policy in this area. Many of these have been successfully implemented, supporting a long-term decline in overall smoking prevalence.
Despite this, smoking remains a leading cause of preventable illness and premature death in the UK.
BMA policy on tobacco includes support for:
- the provision of adequately funded, targeted smoking cessation services
- increasing taxation on all tobacco products above the rate of inflation and, specifically, increasing the tobacco tax escalator from two to five per cent above inflation
- a positive licensing scheme to reduce the number of tobacco outlets
- continued reduction tobacco marketing opportunities
- limiting pro-smoking imagery in entertainment media.
Our paper Promoting a tobacco-free society sets out BMA’s position on the future for tobacco control in more detail, and considers the measures needed to move towards a tobacco-free society in the UK.
Key areas of work
See more on the key areas of work we have been involved in and our policies on each issue.
- An estimated 15.8% of adults in the UK now smoke (17.7% of men and 14.1% of women). This is down from 20% in 2010.
- Every year there are approximately 100,000 deaths in the UK from diseases caused by smoking.
- An estimated 15.5% of adults in England smoke.
- In England there were an estimated 475,000 hospital admissions attributable to smoking in 2015/16. According to the charity Action on Smoking and Health, smoking related ill health cost the social care system in England £1.4 billion annually.
- An estimated 17.7% of adults in Scotland smoke.
- Smoking-associated diseases costs the Scottish healthcare system an estimated £271m each year, according to calculations by the charity Action on Smoking on Health in Scotland.
- An estimated 16.9% of adults in Wales smoke.
- Estimated smoking costs for NHS Wales are more than £380m a year, accounting for 7% of healthcare expenditure.
- An estimated 18.1% of adults in Northern Ireland smoke.
- Nearly 16,700 people are believed to be admitted to hospital for smoking-related illnesses each year.
NHS Smokefree Pledge
We’re committed to supporting a smokefree NHS and are key signatories to the NHS Smokefree Pledge.
Download the pledge