Health leaders welcome independent review into tobacco control

Matthew Taylor responds to Javed Khan OBE's independent review into tobacco control.

9 June 2022

Responding to Javed Khan OBE's independent review into tobacco control, Matthew Taylor chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:

“Illness and disease brought on by smoking places a huge burden on our healthcare system, costing the NHS around £2.4bn a year. Healthcare leaders welcome Javed Khan’s independent review into tobacco control and support the increased investment to the Smokefree 2030 programme. In particular, raising the age of sale of tobacco by one year, every year will be a crucial step towards making the next generation smoke-free. Many local health and care system leaders are working towards smoke free organisations through collaboration across NHS, local authority and community stop smoking services to enable patients and staff to have equitable access to specialist support.

“We know smoking poses a significant threat to public health and is the leading cause of preventable illness and death in this country. Most worryingly, smoking rates are the highest in the most deprived communities and further exacerbate existing health and economic inequalities.

“The Government’s ambition of becoming smoke-free by 2030 will only be achieved if we adopt a whole-system approach. Given that smoking is one of the UK’s leading drivers of health inequalities, the Government’s upcoming health disparities white paper must provide further opportunities to reduce smoking-related harms and also urge the government to act now on the other causes of preventable illness and death, such as obesity and cardiovascular disease.”