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women with long brown hair sat on a sofa watching a youtube video of the live stream khan report


Khan Review Declared Vaping As ‘Critical’ for Britain’s Smokefree Ambitions

By Patrick Griffin 18th August 2022 7 Mins


Vaping should play a crucial role in helping the government meet its ‘smokefree 2030’ ambitions, according to a landmark new report.

The publication of the long-awaited Khan review into smoking was released in June and has been hailed as a ‘huge step forward’ by the UK Vaping Industry Association…but not everybody is happy.

One of the recommendations in The Khan review states that the legal smoking age should be raised every year until nobody is allowed to buy cigarettes.

This would mean that anyone aged 14 or under today, could NEVER legally buy a cigarette.

Dr Javed Khan, the former chief executive of children’s charity Barnardo’s, said his recommendations must be implemented in full to make smoking obsolete by 2040.

khan review live stream presentation on youtube

He also wants to bring back ‘stop smoking’ messages on TV, radio and on social media platforms and says the NHS must do more to help smokers quit.

He called for an annual £125 million investment package – ideally funded by the tobacco industry – to ensure that the government meets its smokefree goals.

Khan said:

“I don’t care how the money is found, but it has to be found and has to be found quickly.

“There can be no shortcuts, quick fixes or excuses and I urge the government to seize this moment and fully commit to making smoking obsolete.”

Dr Javed Khan

Launching his report via a YouTube livestream he said:

“In the past few years smoking has been more deadly than COVID and costs society about £17bn a year.

“In the wake of the current cost of living crisis, smoking is a financially draining addiction. Making smoking obsolete in England would lift around 2.6 million adults and one million children out of poverty.

Dr Javed Khan

He warned that without further action, the nation would exceed its smokefree targets by ‘at least seven years’, with society’s poorest areas failing to get there until 2044.

Khan highlighted four critical ‘must do’ areas and called on the government to:

  • Urgently invest £125M per year in interventions to reach smokefree 2030,
  • Raise age of sale of tobacco by one year, every year,
  • Offer vaping as a substitute for smoking, alongside accurate information on the benefits of switching, including to healthcare professionals and
  • Ensure that the NHS prioritises prevention, takes further action to stop people smoking and provides support and treatment across all its services, including primary care.
dr javed khan obe talking live about the khan review

He stressed without action now, another half a million smokers would die by 2030, saying the country needed a ‘cultural shift’ so that nobody wanted to buy cigarettes anymore.

Khan urged the government to commit to a new ambition of making smoking obsolete by 2040.

He said it was important to make the UK ‘the least attractive and least profitable place’ for the tobacco industry to do business so that it could no longer ‘prey on children and young people.’

Khan said:

“Smoking kills and ruins lives and we should not settle for anything less than a truly smokefree generation for our young people.”

Dr Javed Khan

Referring to vaping he said:

“Healthcare professionals I spoke to, at the very top of their fields from across the world, say vaping is much safer than cigarettes and should be recommended.

“Research also shows that vaping is an extremely effective quit tool, so in our efforts to help smokers quit and dramatically reduce the risks of cancer, heart disease and strokes, it has to be an option.”

Dr Javed Khan

He called for a ban on cartoon characters and images that appealed to children on e-liquid packaging so that vaping remained ‘a quit tool and not a cool tool.’

Reaction to the Khan Report

Former Health Secretary Sajid Javid

“There is a call to offer vaping as a substitute to smoking.

“Vaping is far less harmful than smoking and is an effective quitting device.

“It is recognised that there is much more government can do to tackle the myths and misconceptions that surround vaping.

“We have worked with the MHRA to provide guidance to support bringing e-cigarettes to market as licenced therapies and this government will take forward a range of work on vaping as a substitute for smoking in due course.”

Sajid Javid

UKVIA Director-General John Dunne

The UKVIA welcomed the importance the report gave to vaping as a smoking cessation tool.

Its Director General John Dunne said:

“Mr Khan’s review recommends that vaping promotion should be one of the critical policies to eradicate smoking.

“We couldn’t agree more with this report’s stark message that, without immediate action, the government will miss its smoke free targets by seven years.

“Any plans for mass media campaigning to dismantle myths about smoking and vaping are hugely welcome and something we have long called for.

“This is a truly great day for vaping advocates and marks another huge step forward for the tobacco harm reduction movement.”

John Dunne

World Vapers’ Alliance Director Michael Landl

Harm reduction advocate Michael Landl, praised the UK for supporting vaping despite ‘unfounded attacks’ in other parts of the world.

The World Vapers’ Alliance director said:

“Even though the plan is not perfect, it’s great to see that the UK puts practical solutions centre stage, instead of following idealised goals.

“The European Union should take the UK’s approach as an example when designing its strategy for tobacco regulation.”

Michael Landl

He added that vaping must be the ‘leading component’ in an upcoming review of the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive.

sir chris whitty speaking live at the presentation of the khan review

Chief Medical Officer Sir Chris Whitty

England’s chief medical officer Sir Chris Whitty said ‘the staggering scale’ of the harm caused by cigarettes required bold action.

He said:

“Cigarette industry lobbyists will try to make this a debate between health and freedom, but this is the most dishonest debate you could possibly imagine.

“The majority of smokers wish to quit but cannot because the cigarette industry has addicted them at a very young age and that is not freedom of choice.

“If you are in favour of freedom, you absolutely are not in favour of this addictive industry which kills so many people.”

Sir Chris Whitty
andrew gwynne mp speaking live at the presentation of the khan review

Shadow Health Minister Andrew Gwynne

Shadow minister for health and social care Andrew Gwynne added that smoking ‘blights communities right across the country’, calling it a ‘key driver’ of health inequalities.

He said:

“Smoking is associated with almost every single indicator of deprivation and marginalisation.

“If we want to build a fairer, happier and more prosperous future, a smokefree 2030 is a key component of that blueprint.”

Andrew Gwynne
mary foy mp speaking live at the presentation of the khan review

Mary Foy MP

Labour MP Mary Foy, the vice chair on the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health, said cigarettes were the only legal product which ‘killed up to two out of three’ of its users.

And without ‘radical action’, she warned two million more UK smokers were estimated to die in the next 20 years.

She said:

“Smoking is a drain on our society, especially our poorest communities; making smoking obsolete would lift millions of children and adults out of poverty.”

Mary Foy
daniel poulter mp speaking at the presentation of the khan review

Daniel Poulter MP

Also speaking at the launch event was Tory MP Daniel Poulter, who said tobacco dependency stripped smokers of their free will and said we had ‘a duty as a country’ to eliminate one of the biggest killers.

He said:

“Today’s report contains a number of important measures and recommendations which could make a transformative change to people’s lives…and they will save lives.

“I very much hope the government will implement this report to create a smokefree world for our children and grand-children.”

Daniel Poulter


About this author

Patrick Griffin