The government is aiming to end smoking in England by 2030 as part of a range of measures to address preventable ill health.
Its green paper, released late on Monday, says that though "traditional public health interventions have led to significant improvements in the nation's health", more needs to be done.
"Thanks to our concerted efforts on smoking, we now have one of the lowest smoking rates in Europe with fewer than 1-in-6 adults smoking. Yet, for the 14 per cent of adults who still smoke, it's the main risk to health.
"Smokers are disproportionately located in areas of high deprivation. In Blackpool, 1-in-4 pregnant women smoke. In Westminster, it's 1-in-50."
The green paper proposes a series of steps to help tackle future health needs, including:
- all smokers who are admitted to hospital will be offered support to stop smoking;
- the Diabetes Prevention Program will be doubled;
- alcohol care teams are to be established in more areas;
- measures taken to help shift the health system away from just treating illness, and towards preventing problems in the first place.
"For the 14 per cent of adults who are not yet smoke-free, smoking is the leading cause of ill-health and early death, and a major cause of inequalities. That's why the government wants to finish the job," the paper says.
It says it is the government's ambition that England will be smoke-free by 2030.
"This includes an ultimatum for industry to make smoked tobacco obsolete by 2030, with smokers quitting or moving to reduced risk products like e-cigarettes."
Australian Associated Press