It is important to provide the necessary help and support for people trying to quit smoking. That is why the Government has stopped cigarette and tobacco adverts in all shops to prevent encouragement to smoke. You may be interested to know that smoking is at its lowest recorded level in the UK and its prevalence among children aged 15 years old has fallen from 12 per cent in 2010 to 8 per cent in 2013.
Smoking remains one of the most significant public health challenges. It is a major cause of cancer, heart and respiratory disease and almost 80,000 people in England alone die every year from ill health caused by smoking. It places an enormous strain on the NHS and its resources.
The Government has already made significant interventions on tobacco, both to protect revenue and to promote public health. This includes the extension of the tobacco duty escalator which will increase the tax on cigarettes by 2 percent above the Retail Prices Index.
Local authorities, funded by the Government's public health grant, have responsibility for providing a programme of tobacco control, including stop smoking services. I am pleased that over the next five years, local authorities will receive £16 billion through the public health grant.
Evidence shows that specialist stop smoking services are the most effective way to help smokers quit. Public Health England is committed to supporting local authorities develop effective regional approaches to tobacco control which maximise value for money.