Ministers pledge to halve number of smokers by 2020

New strategy could include ban on smoking near entrances to buildings

A plan to halve the number of smokers in England by 2020 has been unveiled by ministers. The target would mean around four million of England's estimated eight million smokers quitting.

The health secretary, Andy Burnham, said: "The government has made massive progress on tobacco over the past decade. Ten years ago, millions more people smoked and many have died early as a result.

"We've come so far and now we'll go even further - to push forward and save even more lives.

"(The) strategy renews our commitment to virtually eradicate the health harms caused by smoking, and I firmly believe we can halve smoking by 2020. In 10 years' time, only one in 10 people will smoke."

The commitments include a review of smoking legislation to consider if areas such as entrances to buildings should be included in the ban. Ministers also aim to stop young people taking up smoking by cracking down on illegally imported cheap cigarettes.

The government said each year smoking caused 80,000 deaths and cost the NHS £2.7bn.

 

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