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What we say about…Tobacco

Position statements · Tobacco | April 11, 2023

Our key messages

  • Smoking is a major killer and the biggest driver of health inequalities, with half the difference in life expectancy between people living in the most and the least deprived areas caused by smoking.


  • The economic costs of tobacco use are substantial and include significant treatment cost as well as lost human capital.



  • Governments across all nations should consider the recommendations made in the Khan Review.


  • The NHS should commit to a radical upgrade in prevention which includes funding and implementing NICE guidance (NG209).
No Smoking sign

Our national recommendations

  • A fully funded Tobacco Control Plan to achieve smoke free targets.


  • The tobacco tax escalator should be revised so that it is 2% above average weekly earnings rather than RPI.


  • The Government should consider introducing a national licensing scheme with the aim of eliminating the illicit and illegal trade in tobacco, and to end selling of tobacco products to minors. It is vital that investment is made in enforcement of legislation as well as treatment and prevention.


  • The age of sale of tobacco should be raised from 18 to 21.


  • Stronger enforcement and regulations should be imposed to limit the sale of e-cigarettes to underaged children.


  • The Government should ensure all social housing in communal buildings is smoke-free, making stop-smoking a norm and protecting non-smoker populations from the harms of second-hand smoke.

Our local recommendations

  • Evidence shows that smoking cessation services alone cannot reduce smoking prevalence so public health authorities should support wider schemes, including interrupting counterfeit supplies and targeted messaging.


  • Regional cooperation in England and working with Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) are crucial to maximise impact and prevent duplication of resources. Regions in England should learn from the regional tobacco control programme in North East which is now funded by all 12 local authorities (LA)’s and match funded by the Integrated Care Board (ICB).


  • The NHS should continue to provide treatment for tobacco dependency as a core part of their services.


  • NHS providers should take action to ensure that hospitals are smoke-free by effectively implementing NICE guidance PH48.


  • GPs should continue to prescribe nicotine replacement therapy or stop-smoking medicines to patients in need, supported by adequate resources and funding.


  • Access to pharmacotherapy should be widened to help smokers stop smoking.
Download our tobacco position statement in full
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