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Smoke-free 2030 Target

Volume 712: debated on Tuesday 19 April 2022

I know that my hon. Friend has long been a passionate advocate for a smoke-free England, and I read his recent Westminster Hall debate with interest. Some 64,000 deaths a year are attributed to smoking and it is one of the greatest drivers of health disparities in our country. I am personally determined that we should do everything we can to reach the Government’s ambition of a smoke-free 2030. That is why, in January, I asked Javed Khan to lead an independent review into tobacco control. Once that review is complete, the Government will set out their next steps.

To get to a smoke-free 2030, for every 100 people smoking today we need to reduce that figure by eight, because “smoke-free” actually means 5% or less of the adult population smoking. Can I ask the Secretary of State to ruthlessly target the barriers that stop people stubbing out their last cigarette? We need to get the numbers of smokers down; otherwise, 2030 will be an ambition that is not achieved.

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. The smoking rate is currently 13.5%, which is the lowest on record. However, smoking remains the largest driver of health disparities in our country. The new tobacco control plan, which will be informed by the new independent review, will be looking to do exactly what my hon. Friend says.

As one of the original campaigners for a ban on smoking in public places, I fully support what has just been suggested, but can I go further and beg the Secretary of State to come up very soon with a plan so that every child, every person and every family in this country can breathe clean, fresh air away from the pollution coming from diesel vehicles and other sources?

The hon. Gentleman has long been a campaigner on this issue and I commend him for that. He is right to continue pushing. I do not want to pre-empt the outcome of the independent review because it is just that, a review fully independent of Government. However, once it is complete—I hope to publish it in May—we can set out our plans.