The past decade has seen a dramatic reduction in the number of people smoking. Figures have fallen by almost a quarter to 21% and the government hopes to increase this by a further 10% by 2020.
We have the smoking ban to thank for decreasing the number of smokers in our midst but what else can be done to try and reduce the number of smokers even further. As well as considering pushing smokers even further out into the cold by extending the ban outdoors to include entrances to workplaces, bus shelters and pub beer gardens, other measures are being considered such as removing branding from packets and banning cigarette vending machines, as will happen in Scotland next year.
Another government strategy is to crack down on illegally imported cheap cigarettes which will hopefully in turn reduce the number of youngsters taking up smoking.
The Smokers lobby group Forest sees these possible changes as another way to take away people’s freedom and right to make personal choices.
Smokers’ lobby group Forest criticised the proposals for eroding people’s ability to make lifestyle choices. The government simply see it as a way of trying to reduce the 80,000 deaths a year caused by smoking and also the huge £2.7 bn bill to the NHS.
Health Secretary Andy Burnham said: “We’ve come so far and now we’ll go even further, to push forward and save even more lives.”
“This 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.”