BHF responds to the government's new Tobacco Control Plan

18 July 2017        

Category: BHF Comment

man with cigarette in hand The Government has today announced its new Tobacco Control Plan which sets out to achieve a ‘smoke free’ England by 2022. 

The plan includes a number of targets aimed at adult smokers, teenagers and pregnant women in England. 

By 2022 it aims to:

reduce the number of smokers amongst adults from 15.5% to 12%• reduce smoking among 15-year-olds who regularly smoke from 8% to 3% or less
reduce smoking in pregnancy from 10.7% to 6% or under.

A "smoke free" England would mean smoking rates fall to 5% or under, with one in 20 people or fewer smoking

Some of the key aspects of the plan include: 

• A focus on localised work, with local areas encouraged to develop their own tobacco control strategies and local smoke-free pregnancy champions will encourage mothers-to-be to quit 

More help for smokers working in the NHS to quit, and working towards a "completely smoke-free NHS estate"

There will be a focus on using e-cigarettes and other stop-smoking devices as aids to quitting

Public Health England will update its evidence report on e-cigarettes and other devices annually until the end of 2022 and include messages about the relative safety of e-cigarettes in stop-smoking campaigns

There will be more help for smokers with mental health problems – more than 40% of adults with a serious mental health problem smoke

All mental health inpatient services sites in England will aim to be smoke free by 2018 • Prisons in England will get more support to become smoke free

A smokefree generation

Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation, said:

“We welcome the government’s renewed commitment to tackling tobacco and its ambitious vision for a ‘smokefree generation’. Compared with non-smokers, smokers have up to four times the risk of heart disease and stroke. Previous tobacco control measures, such as the introduction of smokefree legislation, have helped cut smoking rates but there are still at least 16,000 deaths a year in England caused by smoking-related heart attacks and stroke.

"The Government’s commitment to drive down smoking rates is crucial to improving public health. Now the Government needs to act to achieve this vision.”

“To do this effectively, the plans must be accompanied by the necessary funding - we hope that government will commit to providing this to ensure that ambition can be turned into action.”

7.3 million smokers

There are currently 7.3 million adult smokers in England. Smokers are almost twice as likely to have a heart attack compared with people who have never smoked and about half of all regular smokers will eventually be killed by their habit. In the UK, 22,000 smokers die from cardiovascular disease each year.

Find out more about the BHF's smoking-related research