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Ministers aim to help people to kick the habit by 2030 but analysis says that will be missed by almost a decade. Some 150 cancer cases a day, and one in four deaths, are caused by smoking. It costs the NHS £2.4billion a year. Charity boss Michelle Mitchell said: “Big Tobacco is profiting off our nation’s health. We need urgent action.”
The Stop the Start campaign is calling for measures to prevent youngsters smoking – including raising the age at which tobacco can be bought, from 18.
The charity says the four biggest tobacco firms make £900million in UK profits a year. It wants the Government to “seriously consider” an annual charge on the industry for the damage its products cause.
Ex-Health Secretary Matt Hancock had vowed to make the UK smoke-free by 2030.
The Department of Health and Social Care has yet to reveal how it intends to achieve that.