Plans to raise legal smoking age in UK to 21 could be unveiled by government

There are currently more than 6 million smokers in England

<p>The number of smokers increased by 25 per cent among the under-30s during the pandemic</p>

The number of smokers increased by 25 per cent among the under-30s during the pandemic

Radical plans to raise the legal smoking age in the UK to 21 as part of a review backed by the health secretary could be unveiled before the end of this week, reports say.

The review is expected to arrive on Thursday in a bid to slash the number of smokers in Britain to 5 per cent by 2030.

Led by former Barnardo’s CEO Javed Khan, the report is expected to recommend that the legal age to purchase cigarettes be raised and that new taxes be levied on profits made by tobacco companies.

But The Guardian reported there is resisitance from within government regarding the changes.

And the plans, commissioned by Sajid Javid, are expected to go out to consultation after the fine points have been released.

When the review was conceived, Mr Khan said 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”.

The launch on Thursday will reportedly have the audience of chief medical officer Sir Chris Whitty, health minister Maggie Throup and shadow health minister Andrew Gwynne.

The potential reforms to the government’s policy on smoking, including the ratcheting up of the rules on sales, were described in their early stages by one industry source “very radical.”

The Guardian also heard from one government source that ministers would not have to accept the review’s findings, while another stressed the longstanding principle of the age of 18 being “widely recognised as the age of adulthood”.

And a Downing Street source previously told The Telegraph that prime minister Boris Johnson does not believe the legal age should be raised as 18 is recognised by the government as the threshold of legal responsibility.

Previous reports suggested the plans were “political cover” for Mr Javid to ensure the 2030 target for a smoke-free UK was not shelved by No 10 amid fears the Tories would face accusations of trying to implement a “nanny state”.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “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.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in