Javed Khan (Ex Chief Executive of Barnardo’s) headed up the Tobacco Independent Review. This was initiated by Sajid Javid (Secretary of State for Health and Social Care) as part of the Governments Levelling Up strategy to decrease health disparities across England.
Javed has shown to be pro-vaping and realises it could help the UK achieve its Smoke Free 2030 goal.
He has asked for input on social media and met many people in person to capture public opinion.
Review into Smokefree 2030. https://t.co/WNSn0uJREH My 15 recommendations identify a holistic response to #makingsmokingobsolete. However, I have identified 4 without which the government will not meet Smokefree 2030. #khanreview
— Javed Khan OBE (@JavedKhanCEO) June 9, 2022
Today he has presented his recommendations for Government tobacco control policy.
You can read the full review results here on the Gov.uk website – Independent Review Published to help meet 2030 smokefree target. I will however try to summarise the hearing for you below!
Impact On Vaping / Alternative Nicotine
If you don’t want to read about all of the recommendations – here are the ones which impact Vapers…
The recommendations have been super positive so far for vaping, but I do think there will be additional regulations to stop underage sales and appearance.
I am actually proud of the UK for being so science led when it comes to vaping. Most of the authorities recommend vaping as a way to quit smoking and it has now become a tool in meeting the Smoke Free 2030 target.
Javed said he had a lot of detailed conversations about vaping and he has been persuaded that vaping is the way forward.
He did add that he realised that vapes were not the silver bullet but he is fully on board with promoting vaping as a harm reduction tool.
Also he wants to regulate packaging. Vape flavours will also be reviewed as he doesn’t want them appealing to young people. He wants vapes marketed as a smoking cessation tool.
Dodgy tobacco and vapes will be targeted harder with an increase in funding for local Trading Standards.
He believes the warnings on packaging are defunct as people ignore them and a new way needs to be found.
Research and innovation needs investment – the existing research needs expanding into Shisha, Snus, Paan, Pouches and new products.
Recommendations For Government
Obviously this is a huge document (101 pages) but it is well summarised in the graphic above.
Part 1: Invest Now
This recognises that the systems to help smokers quit have become broken.
Apparently an investment of £125m per year will be needed to meet the Smoke Free 2030 target.
Options to help with this funding could be…
- Additional funding from Government.
- A tax on large tobacco firms.
- Corporation tax surcharge.
This funding is required to…
- Improve local enforcement services by funding Trading Standards to tackle illicit tobacco sales.
- Invest in local stop smoking services.
- Mass media campaigns against smoking.
- Financial incentives for pregnant women to quit smoking.
- More funding for research.
Part 2: Stop The Start
The less people starting smoking the better and the recommendations to help achieve this are below…
- Raise minimum age of tobacco sales by 1 year each year. This has been highlighted as one of the “Must Do” recommendations in order to meet Smoke Free 2030!
- Substantially raise the cost of tobacco duties (more than 30%) across all tobacco products and abolish “Duty Free” entry of tobacco products at border control.
- Introduce a “Tobacco Licence” in order to be able to sell tobacco.
- Enhance local tobacco control enforcement by dedicating an addition £15m to local Trading Standards.
- Reduce the appeal of smoking by redesigning packaging, cigarettes, close regulatory gaps and tackle advertising and portrayal of smoking in the media.
- Increase Smoke free places to de-normalise smoking and protect the young from second hand smoke.
Part 3: Quit For Good
This is the bit that makes us vapers happy…
- Offer vaping as a substitute for smoking plus accurate information about the benefits of switching. Including education of health professionals. This has been highlighted as one of the “Must Do” recommendations in order to meet Smoke Free 2030!
- Invest an extra £70m a year into local stop smoking services.
- Invest £15m per year in a national mass media campaign.
Part 4: System Change
The main “must do” recommendation is for the NHS to prioritise prevention and providing more services and support to help people stop smoking.
- Invest £15m per year to support pregnant women to quit smoking.
- Tackle the issue of smoking and mental health.
- Invest £8m into local stop smoking services.
- Invest £2m per year into research and data.
Javed’s Closing remarks
He thanked all the other speakers and said by commissioning this review the government sent out a message that the existing state of affairs is not acceptable.
Javed says the levelling up cannot take place without these recommendations. He wants to see tobacco and cigarettes disappear entirely and tobacco companies not wanting to sell here.
Getting people to quit is also vital, and he emphasised there can be no short cuts or quick fixes.
He finished by urging the government to seize this moment and make smoking obsolete.
The hearing was presented by Rosanna O’Connor, the director of the Addiction and Inclusion Office for Health Improvement and Disparities.
She said she is looking forward to working with everyone and moving forward to make this happen. She also praised Javed for his work and presentation of clear recommendations.
Chris Whitty (Chief Medical Officer for England)
The household name Chris Whitty also took the stand to explain why this review was needed. We were reminded that not only is he the Chief Medical Officer he is also a practising Physician.
He gave his opinion on the pressure smoking puts on healthcare and how tobacco companies are causing this.
The damage caused by cigarette companies is staggering including heart disease, stroke, COPD, lung cancer and multiple other cancers.
Most smokers wish to quit but cannot as the industry has addicted them at a young age – their choice has been taken away.
— Professor Chris Whitty (@CMO_England) June 9, 2022
Chris continued saying smoking is the reversible cause of the leading killing cancer in the UK – Lung Cancer, plus Heart Attacks, death from Heart Disease and long term heart disability.
Also of concern are those who are still alive suffering from debilitating smoking related diseases.
Chris believes we need a bold approach to reduce the impact of smoking and encouraging people to quit.
Age is critical as if you can stop new people being introduced to smoking before the age of 20 they are less likely to become smokers.
He is also heavily in favour of increasing age limits to buy tobacco.
In making policies the Governments are often caught between health and freedom. However those stuck in a smoking cycle are not free to make choices. A lot of people want to quit and they should be supported.
Sue took the stand to tell her story about the impact tobacco has had on her life.
She smoked from the age of 11 and has a similar story to a lot of us who are over 40. We had families smoking, sports stars smoking, TV tobacco advertising so it was ingrained in our whole life from a young age.
After diagnosis in 2012 with cancer of the Larynx she went outside and lit up a cigarette. She says this proves how tight the hold of addiction is.
After laser surgery and quitting smoking she was clear of cancer.
As soon as was the cancer was clear she started smoking again and got cancer again and was treated.
This cycle kept happening and she got cancer for the third time, this was more aggressive and required Radiotherapy.
She described the impact of the cancer and the treatment on her whole family. So she then quit and has been cancer free for 5 years.
Inspirational speech from Sue Mountain. Bringing the #khanreview to life with her own experience and journey. No one better to show how important it is to make tobacco smoking obsolete. pic.twitter.com/z5BzHECnN5
— Fresh – Making Smoking History (@FreshSmokeFree) June 9, 2022
Sue is positive that raising age limits will make a huge difference. Her new born grandson she hopes will never will be able to buy tobacco.
She thinks these measures are needed to prevent others going through what she and her family have suffered.
Dr Daniel Poulter MP (Central Suffolk and North Ipswich)
Dr Daniel Poulter MP is also a practicing Psychiatrist for the NHS in Addiction Services.
His opinions are formed from seeing in real life the grip of addiction and how a person’s health is affected.
He is heavily in favour of these recommendations and even mentions using vapes to reduce the harm and aid smokers to quit.
Disincentives in price and taxing are needed to help reduce smoking plus extra funding are required to local services.
He implores the government to implement Javed’s findings to improve health for the whole country.
Mary Foy MP (Vice Chairman of the APPG On Smoking and Health)
The APPG (Across Party Parliamentary Group) are a group of peers and MP’s who are there to recommend and research tobacco impact and policy. Mary Foy is the Vice Chair and also the MP for the City of Durham.
She welcomes the ambitious review and Javed impressed the whole team.
Her speech stated the following…
- Tobacco is the only legal product that kills 2 out of 3 users which is why radical action is needed.
- Reducing smoking would be positive economically for businesses and the health service.
- Stopping smoking has been neglected and at present the prospect of meeting the 2030 goal is unlikely.
But with implementation of the new recommendations this is achievable.
Prevention of smoking, promotion of vaping and more investment is needed to help people quit and this is vital to meet the goal.
She is passionate about local stop smoking services and how they need to be funded. She was a chair of the Gateshead Tobacco Control Alliance and also was involved with Fresh Stop Smoking Service in the North East.
Fantastic to speak at the launch of @JavedKhanCEO‘s review into making smoking obsolete.
It’s a really excellent report with the radical recommendations needed to achieve a Smokefree England by 2030. Now it’s time to turn policy into reality! pic.twitter.com/KZ98aCZqe5
— Mary Kelly Foy MP (@marykfoy) June 9, 2022
When Fresh was founded in 2005 – smoking prevalence in the North East was 20% higher than the UK average.
This disparity continued to grow. However now this region has significantly reduced its smoking levels and is no longer the area with the highest rate of smokers in the UK. She believes programs like Fresh are vital and need to be available to all.
She stressed that cross party co-operation was needed to make this work.
Andrew Gwynne MP (Shadow Minister for health and Social Care)
Andrew Gwynne MP began his speech by sincerely thanking Javed and the teams involved and he reiterated his belief in the smoke free 2030 goal.
Smoking is indicated in all the most deprived and marginalised demographics. In the top 5 most income deprived areas in England an average of 15.3% of people still smoke. This compares to only 8% in the least deprived areas.
Therefore those in the most deprived areas are twice as likely to suffer from a smoking related condition.
Smoke free 2030 is not only a health priority but a social justice one to reduce the health gap between the most and least deprived people in the country.
If we want to build a healthier and fairer future, we need bold action to tackle smoking and cancer. pic.twitter.com/TJqBntVy2u
— Andrew Gwynne MP 🇺🇦 (@GwynneMP) June 9, 2022
He was involved when the smoking regulation change in 2006 (the Health Act 2006) where smoking was banned indoors. Apparently the health data showed smoking related conditions rapidly decreased after this came into effect.
In 2006 22% of adults smoked – this has decreased to around 14.5% now!
He feels that complacency has become the norm towards smoking due to the 40% funding cuts in stop smoking services and the numbers of smokers naturally dropping. But he says this complacency will hinder the target of 2030.
We cannot have a smoke free 2030 ambition without full stop smoking service coverage of the whole UK.
He quoted this passage from the report…
Without further action England will not meet the Smoke free 2030 target by at least 7 years, with the poor areas not meeting it until 2044.
He says this would be nothing short of catastrophic and this is an urgent target.
The number of young adults smoking rose a 1/4 during the first Covid Lockdown and the implications of this have not arrived yet.
Andrew promised that Labour will not only scrutinise the progress of the government but they will work together wholeheartedly and constructively to achieve this goal.
He said this review is potentially a game changer and transformative. He believes smoke free 2030 is within grasp with these recommendations.
Maggie Throup (Parliamentary Under Secretary for State for Vaccines and Public Health)
Maggie is very positive about the recommendations and shared commitment from all parties.
She stated that over the past decade there has been funding for stop smoking services via the Public Health Grant.
Thanks @JavedKhanCEO for your report on how the government can hit its smokefree 2030 target.⁰⁰We will look closely at the recommendations and respond soon.⁰⁰It was great to speak today on how we can level up the health of the nation.⁰⁰https://t.co/FNA7GeMjvC
— Maggie Throup MP (@maggie_erewash) June 9, 2022
After meeting with staff and clients of the Medway Stop Smoking Service with Javed she the service was vital to helping people stop smoking. She was told that without the service some of those would not have been able to quit.
The government has also provided additional resources as part of the NHS Long Term Plan commitment to stopping smoking.
The benefits of prevention are huge and supports harm reduction with alternative nicotine sources.
She said that…
Vapes are by far the most popular alternative source of nicotine but there are also patches, gums and more recently nicotine pouches. We want to see more smokers using Vapes to quit.
The secretary of state has spoken of his desire to see these products routinely prescribed by the NHS.
The government following this review will take forward a range of work promoting vaping as a quit smoking tool whilst ensuring these products are not appealing to young people and non smokers.
This review has made clear decisive action is needed and the disparity between smoking rates needs to be addressed.
Levelling up should reduce these disparities.
With nearly 6m smoking in the country the Government need to do more and prevent new people from taking up smoking.
She is determined to address these challenges and will carefully consider all the recommendations from the report. A new tobacco control plan will be published later this year.
Make Smoking Obsolete
Media is another tool which is not being utilised – Javed wants to see more Stop Smoking campaigns and promoting accurate info on options for quitting.
It looks like the Tobacco companies might be taxed heavier in the future to help fund these new measures.
As was predicted there is likely to be a rise in the legal age to buy tobacco, it could gradually increase by a year every year.
He is not sure whether to take it up to 25 or stick with a 21 age limit.
The local stop smoking services need work and he stated that his aim was that any health professional dealing with a smoker will be able to point them towards options to quit.
Also the problem of smoking in the media and film he feels needs to be addressed.
Alternative incentives such as shopping vouchers for pregnant women to stop smoking would be cost and health effective.
People with mental health issues will need additional support and this should be available to everyone in England.
The recommendations above are the 15 main points that Javed says need to be achieved to meet the Smoke Free 2030 goal.
He believes if all these measures are actioned that target is realistic. He even said that he thinks the target could be stricter.
The measures if they are taken will also help the pressure and cost on the NHS and help ease poverty in those trapped in the smoking cycle.
Only 6 of the recommendations require extra funding – so the others can be achievable.
No child under 14 today will be able to buy tobacco – if these measures are implemented.
Watch The Hearing Here…
You can watch the live stream from this speech here. The presentation doesn’t start until around 1:03:20.