Commenting on today’s publication of the Independent Review into Tobacco Control, led by Javed Khan, Grace Everest, Policy Fellow at the Health Foundation said:
‘Today’s independent tobacco review would mark a significant step towards creating a smoke free society, if government chooses to deliver on its recommendations. But it remains to be seen whether the review’s key proposals – such as raising the age of sale for tobacco and making the ‘polluter pay’ for additional investment in tobacco control – will be implemented in practice. With smoking a major cause of preventable ill health and early death in England and a driver of our stark inequalities in life expectancy, failing to do so would be a major missed opportunity to improve and level up the nation’s health. Now is the time for bold action.
‘While smoking rates remain high among those who are more disadvantaged, previous governments have acted boldly on tobacco – with successful results in reducing overall rates of smoking. In contrast, there has been strikingly little progress on the other major preventable health risks such as poor diet, harmful alcohol use and physical inactivity, where trends are going in the wrong direction. With the UK’s poor underlying health having contributed to the heavy toll of COVID-19, 2022 marks a crunch point. It is vital that government follows through on the recommendations of today’s review and learns from the progress that has historically been made in reducing smoking rates, in the UK and internationally. A similarly bold, multi-pronged approach is needed to combat the other leading preventable health risks. This should include evidence-based population-level interventions – such as minimum unit pricing for alcohol and regulations to restrict advertising of unhealthy products – alongside sufficient funding for public health at local government level.'
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