What Happened To The Khan Review & Tobacco Control In UK?

Well as it stands there has been zero action taken on the excellent Khan Independent Tobacco review recommendations and no updates to the Tobacco Control Plan.

Khan Review Recommendations

Initially due to the resignation of Boris Johnson reports claimed that this was on hold until a new Prime Minister was installed.

This article for instance on the ITV website says the same – “Government crackdown on smoking and alcohol paused until next PM is chosen, ITV news understands“.

Also Sajid Javid who was enthusiastic about reducing health disparities resigned! We now have Therese Coffey as the Secretary of State for Health.

Therese Coffey – Image courtesy of Christopher Thomond/The Guardian

Plus we now have Liz Truss at the helm and still no news? So what in the bloody hell is going on?

It is now over 4 months since the Khan review and nothing has changed.

What Is Going On?
I have seen articles such as the one on the Guardian website dated 11th October 2022 – “Therese Coffey to drop smoking action plan, insiders say” which do not look good.

Apparently the Health Secretary Therese does not intend to continue with this.

According to the article…

“Coffey, who is also the deputy prime minister, smokes and has previously accepted hospitality from the tobacco industry. Since becoming an MP in 2010 she has voted in the Commons against an array of measures to restrict smoking, including the ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces, the outlawing of smoking in cars containing children and forcing cigarettes to be sold in plain packs.”

Also it says…

“Liz Truss, the prime minister – a close friend of Coffey’s – is also a longstanding sceptic about tobacco control who has often opposed legislation to clamp down on smoking. She has also appointed former tobacco lobbyists as part of her team of Downing Street advisers.”

It doesn’t look good does it?

Sajid originally committed the Government to bring forward a Tobacco control plan before the end of 2022. In April Maggie Throup the Public Health minister also emphasised the commitment and timeframe.

But everything seems to have been shelved since Coffey took the reins.

According to the Guardian..

“The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said it was “inaccurate” to suggest that the tobacco control plan was being dropped – but did not say if or when it would publish it.

“This is inaccurate and no decisions have been taken,” a DHSC spokesperson said. The department also insisted that it may yet progress some of Khan’s suggestions.

“We are currently considering the wide range of recommendations set out in the Khan Review and how best to take these forward. We will set out our next steps for the plan in due course,” the spokesperson added.”

New Nicotine Alliance (NNA)
As you would expect the NNA are not impressed with the delays and have written to the Secretary of State for Health and also copied to Jacob Rees-Mogg who is the Minister of Brexit.

There are 27 pages but to give you an idea of what it says…

They have listed 20 proposals which would help the Government meet the Smoke Free 2030 goal…

·Lift the EU-imposed ban on snus
·Remove the EU-imposed 20mg/ml limit on the strength of nicotine e-liquid
·Eliminate pointless EU-imposed restrictions on tank and refill container sizes
·Replace excessive and inappropriate warnings on vaping products
·Replace excessive and inappropriate warnings on non-combustible tobacco products
·Replace partial bans on vape advertising with controls on themes and placement
·Replace blanket bans on advertising of low-risk tobacco products with controls
·Limit plain packaging to combustibles but control themes on smoke-free packaging
·Require NHS inserts in cigarette packs to encourage switching to smoke-free products
·Allow commercial inserts in cigarette packs to promote smoke-free products
·Amend the leaflet requirement in vaping products
·Drive motivation to switch with improved risk communications
·Take a principled approach to flavoured smoke-free products
·Introduce consumer protection regulation for modern oral nicotine pouches
·Use fiscal policy to support the transition to smoke-free alternatives
·Protect use of smoke-free products in public places
·Impose well-designed age restrictions
·Strengthen healthcare and public health system response
·Support prescribing of e-cigarettes on a trial basis and engage with vape shops
·Use science and evidence to underpin the strategy

Following recent media reports, we have written today to The Secretary of State for Health to reiterate our recommendations to reduce smoking prevalence with the consent of those affected.

— NNAlliance (@NNAlliance) October 14, 2022

Obviously the media reports could just be rumours regarding how the Government are handling this.

But without any firm evidence of action on the Khan Recommendations of course these rumours could be true.

If I was Sajid or Javed Khan I think I would be most disgusted that the hard work they did seems to have been totally discarded.

Who knows – all I can say is it seems such a shame that a great opportunity to head towards a Smoke Free 2030 appears to have been binned?