Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) today welcomed Javed Khan’s call for £125 million immediate annual investment to deliver his bold plans to make smoking obsolete.

Following publication of the independent review, ASH urged that there is no time to wait if the Government is to achieve its smokefree 2030 ambition (five per cent by 2030).

New analysis from ASH shows more than 180,000 people in England have died from smoking in the 1,053 days since the Government pledged to make England smokefree by 2030 in its Green Paper on July 22, 2019.

Since then, in England:

  • 181,900 people have died from a smoking related illness.
  • 290,920 children have started smoking.
  • Smokers have spent £33.9bn on tobacco.

ASH is urging the Government to act on the findings of the Javed Khan independent review.

The review was commissioned by the secretary of state for health, Sajid Javed, to help the government decide on the most impactful interventions for tackling the stark health disparities associated with tobacco use. The review assesses the options to be taken forward in the new Tobacco Control Plan to deliver a smokefree 2030, which will be published later this year.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, said “Javed Khan’s top priority is immediate and substantial increased government funding for tobacco control. He’s absolutely right. England is way behind target on the government’s smokefree 2030 ambition and while tougher regulations will help, without additional investment we will never get back on track. Every day the government fails to act more than 200 people in England die from smoking and 280 children under 16 light their first cigarette, two thirds of whom will go on to become addicted smokers. The secretary of state has said that it is a ‘moral outrage’ that England’s richest people live on average a decade longer than the poorest. The leading cause for this difference is smoking and it’s time for the government to match outrage with action.”

Calls for the publication of the new Tobacco Control Plan by the end of the year, are backed by cross-party MPs and peers in the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Smoking and Health. Last year the APPG published its recommendations for a sufficiently funded Tobacco Control Plan, calling on Government to end the tobacco epidemic by 2030.

Bob Blackman MP, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Smoking and Health said, “As chairman of the APPG on Smoking and Health, I am delighted to see the publication of Javed Khan’s bold review to make smoking obsolete. It shows a determination to achieve our ambition to be smokefree by 2030, and level up the health of the nation. Now it is time for the government to deliver a sufficiently funded Tobacco Control Plan containing the actions it knows are needed. My parents lost their lives to this lethal addiction, so this is personal, I don’t want others suffering the way I did.”

Mary Kelly Foy MP, vice chair of the APPG on Smoking and Health, said “I welcome the Khan Review’s vision for making smoking obsolete, backed up by recommendations for significantly enhanced funding for tobacco control. The people of the North East, where I am an MP, suffer disproportionately from disease, disability and death caused by smoking. The additional funding for regional and local tobacco control he recommends will be vital if the forthcoming Tobacco Control Plan is to succeed in securing a smokefree future for the next generation in our communities.”

There is widespread public support for measures to end smoking. A 2022 YouGov survey commissioned by ASH, found that around three quarters (74 per cent) of the public support the government’s smokefree 2030 ambition.

North East campaigner and ex-smoker, Sue Mountain, who was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer in 2012, spoke at the Westminster launch of Javed Khan’s independent review. Sue underwent laser treatment for her cancer in 2012. The cancer returned in 2017 which required radiotherapy every day for four weeks.

Sue said, “The Javed Khan review has the scale and ambition needed to end the harm caused by tobacco once and for all. As a former smoker and cancer survivor, I’m one of the lucky ones. Smoking makes life a misery for many thousands of people every year who suffer from debilitating diseases before it kills them. It’s shocking that tobacco companies are making massive profits from an addiction that robs people of their lives and their health. I believe they should be made to pay for the damage they do.”