Health secretary Sajid Javid enlisted former chief executive of children’s charity Barnardo’s Javed Khan to conduct an independent review into the Government’s aim to make England smoke-free by 2030.
It included 15 recommendations for the Government to achieve this target, featuring four critical recommendations.
These were to urgently invest £125m a year into a smoke-free programme with options to fund this including a ‘polluter pays’ levy.
It also included increasing the age of sale by one year, every year as well as offering vaping as a substitute, alongside information on the benefits of switching.
The fourth critical recommendation was for the NHS to prioritise further action to stop people smoking through support and treatment.
One of the other recommendations was for a smoke-free society to be the norm, with smoke-free places in hospitality and other outside areas where children are, where people are not permitted to smoke.
It also suggested smoke-free legislation in hospitality, hospital grounds and outdoor public spaces should be strengthened.
Review leader Khan warned without “immediate and sustained action”, the country won’t achieve its aim of becoming smoke-free by 2030 by many years.
He said: “A smoke-free society should be a social norm – but to achieve this, we must do more to stop people taking up smoking, help those who already smoke and support those who are disproportionately impacted by smoking.
“My holistic set of recommendations for Government will deliver this, while saving lives, saving money and addressing the health disparities associated with smoking."
Khan added: “My proposals are not just a plan for this Government, but successive Governments too. To truly achieve a smoke-free society in our great country, we need to commit to making smoking obsolete, once and for all.”
However, smokers' lobby group Forest hit back at the suggestions to stop people smoking in pub gardens.
Director Simon Clark said: "There is no justification for banning smoking beer gardens because there is no evidence smoking in the open air is a significant risk to non-smokers.
"Whether smoking is allowed in beer gardens is a matter for individual proprietors, based on what is best for their business. It has absolutely nothing to do with [the] Government.
"This type of over-reach is typical of the public health lobby. Give them an inch and they'll take a mile."
Last year (June), five councils banned smoking outside pub pavements, including Newcastle City Council, Manchester City Council, Durham County Council, Northumberland County Council and North Tyneside Council.
Trade body UKHospitality criticised the policies with chief executive Kate Nicholls stating they were unfair given the tough situations faced by many venues due to the pandemic.