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The smokefree 2030 ambition for England


In 2019, the government set out an ambition for England to become “smokefree” by 2030, but the 2022 Khan review found that England is on course to miss this target. This House of Commons briefing provides discussion on the government's associated policy.


The Tobacco Control Plan for England was published in 2017 by the Department of Health and Social Care. It highlighted progress made since the previous Plan in reducing smoking prevalence, but acknowledged that there was still more work to do. The Plan set out several ambitions with respect to:

  • Reducing the uptake of smoking in young people.

  • Reducing the prevalence of smoking in pregnancy.

  • Supporting people with mental health conditions to quit smoking.

  • Supporting evidence-based innovations to help people quit smoking.

In 2019, the government published its green paper on preventative health; Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s. Here, it announced an ambition for England to become ‘smoke-free’ by 2030 – achieved when adult smoking prevalence falls to 5% or less.


In February 2022, the then Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced that the government would publish a health disparities White Paper in Spring 2022, “aiming to break the link between people’s background and their prospect for a healthy life”. As part of this work, the government also launched two reviews, focussed on health disparities and linked to the White Paper.


The first review would consider “potential ethnic bias in the design and use of medical devices”. The second review would consider the government’s ambition to be Smokefree by 2030, and would be led by Javed Khan, former CEO of children’s charity Barnardo’s. The government later said that the Review would inform the forthcoming Tobacco Control Plan.


The Khan Review: making smoking obsolete was published in June 2022. The Report found that “without further action, England will miss the smokefree 2030 target by at least 7 years, and the poorest areas in society will not meet it until 2044”.


The Review set out a package of 15 recommendations aimed at supporting the 2030 ambition, including four “critical must dos” for the government, namely:

  • Increased investment.

  • Increase the age of sale.

  • Promote vaping.

  • Improve prevention in the NHS.

Following the Review’s publication, the then Health Secretary Sajid Javid made a Statement in the Commons, on 9 June 2022.


He said the government would consider the Review’s recommendations and that this would help to inform the upcoming White Paper on Health Disparities. Mr Javid said it would complement this work by publishing a new Tobacco Control Plan, and that the government was determined to address the challenges raised in the Review and to meet the Smokefree 2030 target.


As of 31 October 2022, the government said it was considering the Review’s recommendations. It has also said that the new Tobacco Control Plan will be published in due course.


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House of Commons November 2022

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