The government wants to make UK a smoke free society within eleven years, leaked documents reportedly reveal.
Smokers will be urged to quit or switch to harm reduction products like e-cigarettes by 2030, the proposal suggests.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock is set to unveil a Green Paper next week in parliament outlining the government’s plans to tackle smoking, Daily Mail reported.
The proposals include new levies on tobacco companies to pay for the public health costs and crackdown on illicit trade.
The companies would also be required to insert leaflets giving advice on quitting into cigarette packets.
Campaigners have urged the government to delay publication of plans until a new prime minister appointed.
“It makes no sense for these proposals to be published before the appointment of a new prime minister who may want to adopt a less hectoring, more liberal style of government.” said Simon Clark, director of the smokers’ group Forest.
Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt are battling for the top job in the Tory leadership contest after Prime Minister Theresa May announced her resignation in June. New prime minister is expected to be sworn in by the end of this month.
Johnson, the favourite to win the contest, has earlier announced that he will launch a review of the so-called ‘sin taxes’ on junk food if he becomes prime minister.
Clark added that the government should not force smokers to quit.
“It’s great that smokers now have the option of switching to reduced risk products like e-cigarettes but adults have every right to smoke without being forced to quit by government and anti-smoking campaigners.
“It is frankly offensive that in a so-called liberal democracy unelected civil servants are conspiring with the tobacco control industry to force adults to give up a legal habit many of them enjoy.”