London: Senior doctors and anti-smoking campaigners in the UK have claimed that they are working towards making Britain a no smoking nation within the next 20 years.
Chairman of UK’s Royal College of Physicians Tobacco Advisory Group, Professor John Britain has described the goal as ‘entirely realistic’ and has called on the British Government to support the move.
“Andrew Lansley could make himself a legacy greater than almost of any other Health Secretary in history. I think it will be entirely realistic for all practical purposes to eradicate smoking within 20 years,” Sky News quoted Britain, as saying.
Anti-smoking campaigners have claimed that they are not pushing for a ‘smoking ban’, but want to make cigarettes more expensive, less advertised and socially unacceptable for most people to continue smoking.
In the North East part of UK, which has successfully reduced the number of adults who indulged in smoking from 24.2 percent in 2009 to 21.5 percent in 2011, the goal of a smoke-free UK within two decades is being actively promoted by Fresh, the regional office for tobacco control.
“Our vision is to make smoking history for our children in the next 20 years and we know there are millions out there that back this,” Fresh’s CEO Ailsa Rutter said.
Although smoking rates are falling, each year smoking is resulting in the death of around 100,000 people, while 200,000 children and young people are picking up the habit, the report said.
The British Government is also assessing proposals to reduce the desirability of tobacco by forcing the tobacco industries to sell it in unbranded packaging, it added.