• June 12, 2024

‘U.K. Unlikely to Act on Khan Report’

 ‘U.K. Unlikely to Act on Khan Report’
Photo: William Richardson

The U.K. government is unlikely to enact the actions recommended by Javed Khan in his recent report on smoking, according to an article in The Guardian citing insiders.

The British government has committed to make the country “smoke-free” by 2030. This is defined as getting the proportion of adults who smoke down from 14.1 percent to just 5 percent.

Published in June, Khan’s report says that ministers need to accelerate the reduction in smoking by 40 percent if they want to hit the 2030 target. Among other actions, he recommended raising the legal age of buying tobacco by a year every year and imposing a new “polluter pays” levy on tobacco firms and requiring sellers of tobacco products to have a license.

According to The Guardian, U.K. Health Secretary Therese Coffey also intends to break her predecessor’s promise to publish an action plan to tackle smoking.

The paper writes that Coffey has previously accepted hospitality from the tobacco industry. Since becoming a Member of Parliament in 2010, she has voted in the House of Commons against an array of measures to restrict smoking, including the ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces, the outlawing of smoking in cars containing children and forcing cigarettes to be sold in plain packs.

The Department of Health and Social Care said it was “inaccurate” to suggest that the tobacco control plan was being dropped—but did not say if or when it would publish it.

Labour and anti-smoking campaigners voiced alarm at the potential U-turn over the tobacco control plan. It follows a Treasury-ordered review of measures to tackle obesity and Coffey scrapping a promised white paper on health inequalities.