A belated review commissioned by Health Minister Sajid Javid, who has refused to rule out raising the age from 18 to 21, is due to be released on Thursday
(Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
The UK’s legal smoking age could be raised to 21 under a ‘very radical’ review.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid today refused to rule out raising the age to buy cigarettes from 18, telling the BBC: “It is right that we are looking at radical ways to bring down the smoking rate in this country.”
A belated review by Javed Khan, the former chief executive of Barnardo’s, will reportedly be released on Thursday.
However, the government is divided over the review’s recommendations, which it says also propose new taxes for tobacco companies Guardian.
It is reported that there is skepticism across the government about changes to the legal retirement age and further tax increases, with plans to open consultations after the details are released.
The induction will be attended by Chief Medical Officer Sir Chris Whitty, Health Secretary Maggie Throup and Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Gwynne.
An industry source reportedly said the early version of the review was “very radical”, including a tobacco levy and an option to consider a similar approach to New Zealand’s by increasing the purchase age by one year each year, with the target To achieve it completely ban tobacco sales.
Mr Javid today repeatedly refused to rule out raising the smoking age to 21, saying: “One thing I’m very interested in is tackling the health disparities that exist in our country.”
He said the review was “almost complete” and he would not prejudge the results, but pointed out that the Tories had pledged to bring smoking rates below 5% by 2030 and “I am committed that we will do that “.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The Government is waiting for that review and then we will make decisions.
A government source said there was clearly an option for ministers not to accept the results of the review.
A second source said as a “general principle, the view has always been that 18 is widely accepted as the age of adulthood”.
There are six million smokers in England and tobacco use has increased by 25 per cent among the under-30s during the Covid-19 pandemic, an increase of more than 600,000 smokers in that age group. Overall, interest rates have fallen to less than 15 percent over the past two decades.
A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “Tackling problems such as smoking is a priority for the Office for Health Improvement and Inequalities and is an important part of the government’s agenda to improve health care. That’s why we’ve launched the independent verification of our ambitious goal of making England smoke-free by 2030.
“The review will provide independent, evidence-based advice on possible interventions that will inform our approach to addressing the vast health disparities associated with tobacco use – and we look forward to seeing the report in due course.”
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https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/legal-age-buy-cigarettes-could-27173635 The legal smoking age for buying cigarettes could be raised to 21 in a "radical" move