‘Radical’ changes could raise the legal smoking age

It is reported that the legal age to buy cigarettes could be raised to 21 as part of a “radical” plan. Health Secretary Sajid Javid is awaiting a report on the tobacco industry.

The independent review, commissioned by Mr. Javid, is expected to be released within weeks. He is expected to propose raising the legal age to buy cigarettes to 21 in Britain, BirminghamLive reports.

The Telegraph also reports that new taxes would be introduced on the profits of tobacco companies as smokers are urged to quit. Currently, the legal age to purchase tobacco products is 18, having been raised from 16 in 2007.

The Health Secretary himself quit when he took on Matt Hancock’s job. The next report was authored by Javed Khan, who is said to support a “polluter pays” philosophy that would see tobacco companies effectively finance the cost of anti-smoking policies.

A source close to the association’s former boss, Mr Khan, said: ‘The stance he took in the meetings I had with him was quite radical.

The review will help Javid make the case for raising the legal age to 21 – and push through the anti-tobacco reforms in the Commons. Banning people under 21 from buying cigarettes and smoking could contribute to the plan to make the country smoke-free by 2030.

The report also aims to make vaping and e-cigarettes more accessible – as an alternative to cigarettes. Taxing the tobacco industry could bring in up to £700million a year, which would be used to supply e-cigarettes to the NHS.

An insider added: “Sajid Javid is interested in health inequalities and he wants to tackle public health issues, but the government is committed to right-wing MPs. On tobacco, they are still nervous about it. ‘some kind of attack on the nanny state.’

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