Thank you for contacting me about actions the Government is taking to reduce smoking rates in England.

As the single leading behavioural cause of preventable death across our country, responsible for around 1 in 4 cancer deaths and 64,000 premature deaths per year, reducing smoking is crucial for ensuring we live longer, healthier lives.

Significant progress has been made, with smoking rates now the lowest on record, thanks to duty on cigarettes being doubled since 2010 and continued funding of stop smoking services. However, we must reduce smoking rates further given the substantial cost to the economy and the NHS.

This is why the Government is committed to bringing forward the Tobacco and Vapes Bill to ensure that children aged 14 or younger - anyone born on or after 1 April 2009 – can not legally be sold tobacco products. By 2040, these proposals will ensure that smoking is phased out among young people.  

This Bill will focus on those who sell tobacco products or buy them on behalf of someone else. All tobacco products - including heated tobacco and herbal smoking products - will be in the scope of the Bill. 

To encourage existing smokers to quit, funding for stop-smoking services in England is being substantially increased and new funding will support national anti-smoking marketing campaigns.  An additional £70 million a year (to a total of £140 million) will be provided over the next five years to expand locally delivered services.  It is estimated that this funding will support around 360,000 people a year to quit smoking. 

In addition, the Government has recently announced additional funding for national anti-smoking campaigns that will provide £15 million a year from 2024/25 to 2028/29 to explain the changes to age of sale, the benefits of quitting smoking and the support available.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.