The report finds that without further action this target will be missed by at least seven years.
The report also includes key recommendations to:
- Invest an additional £125 million per year in smokefree 2030 policies
- Prevent uptake in smoking
- Prevent young people from taking up vaping
- Improve prevention in the NHS
In response to the publication, RCPCH Officer for Health Improvement Dr Max Davie said:
Most adult smokers had their first cigarette before the age of 18, it is known that earlier initiation of smoking is linked to increased levels of smoking dependence and a lower chance of quitting.
As paediatricians reducing harm to children and young people lies at the core of our work and stopping children and young people from starting to smoke decreases their chances of developing preventable diseases later in life. It is encouraging to see the recommendations given in this review to reduce the number of young people that start smoking.
The review recognises vaping is not totally risk-free and this should be reflected in any campaign initiative to ensure children and young people are discouraged from starting to use e-cigarettes. It is encouraging that the review calls on the UK government to ban child-friendly e-cigarette packaging.
Any system change in the NHS should ensure that paediatric services are given appropriate support in delivering information to children and young people about the lifetime implications of starting to smoke.