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Under 25s could be BANNED to buy cigarettes to make the UK smoke-free in less than a decade

A smoking ban for under-25s could be in place by 2030 to make the UK smoke-free.

Javed Khan is leading an independent review of the government’s ambitions to make the country smoke-free by the end of the decade.

Smoking under the age of 25 could be banned by 2030

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Smoking under the age of 25 could be banned by 2030Photo credit: Getty
Javed Khan leads independent research into reducing smoking rates

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Javed Khan leads independent research into reducing smoking ratesCredit: Alamy Live News

Khan, a former chief executive of children’s charity Barnardo’s, has been tasked with examining whether national anti-smoking measures are sufficient.

The new anti-smoking czar said that goal would not be achieved if “nothing else is done” in the approach to cigarettes. reports The Times.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid commissioned the review, and Khan is keen to question whether the target of 5 percent smoking prevalence by 2030 was ambitious enough.

Khan is expected to present his findings on April 22, and he believes a culture of thinking ‘the job is done’ as tackling smoking rates has meant that some avenues of help have been neglected.

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Its review will target key groups including pregnant women, disadvantaged communities and young people.

Khan said he and the government are “seriously considering the age of selling” after looking around the world for inspiration.

For example, New Zealand has some of the strictest smoking laws and has introduced a progressive age ban every year, meaning anyone born after 2008 will not be able to buy cigarettes or tobacco products in their lifetime.

“Is that the right model? Is there [an argument] for raising the age to 19, 20, 21 or even 25?” Khan said.

Smoking in the 18-30 age group in England skyrocketed by 25 per cent during the first lockdown, equivalent to 652,000 more young adults smoking compared to before the pandemic.

Experts say the surge was partly due to the stress of the pandemic but raised concerns it could be a trend.

Khan’s report also examines whether advertising campaigns on social media platforms used by young people, such as TikTok and Instagram, could be the key to changing attitudes towards smoking.

He said: “Just look at the Covid experience, mass marketing has a huge impact, it really works.

“The government went for leather, it has made a huge difference in vaccination rates.

“So why not do something like this again if we really want to save lives?”

Overall, smoking rates across the country have been steadily declining over the past 20 years, and cigarette consumption fell from 15.8 percent in 2019 to 14.5 percent in 2020, according to the Office for National Statistics.

However, there are still six million smokers in England. Tobacco remains the single largest cause of preventable death, and 64,000 people died in 2019 as a result of smoking.

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https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/17926168/under-25s-could-be-banned-from-buying-cigarettes/ Under 25s could be BANNED to buy cigarettes to make the UK smoke-free in less than a decade

Bobby Allyn

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