Published: 5 October 2023
Jim McManus, National Director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health Wales said: “Public Health Wales welcomes the announcement by the Prime Minister to allow a free vote in parliament on raising the legal age of smoking by one year. Smoking remains a major factor in premature death, avoidable illness and health inequalities across Wales. Smoking was associated with over 5,000 deaths and almost one in 20 hospital admission in those over 35 in Wales in 2018.
“Although smoking prevalence amongst young people in Wales has fallen over the long term, the most recent evidence suggests that seven per cent of Year 11 children in Wales were smoking at least weekly in 2021. Most people who smoke begin at a young age. Previous policies to raise the age of smoking have been effective in reducing the number of young people taking up smoking and the total number smoking in Wales.
“We believe this policy would be effective in reducing smoking amongst young people in Wales even further and that it would make a real contribution to the ambition for a smoke-free Wales by 2030.”