A dental health charity has welcomed a proposal by a government health advisory board to make smokers cough up for a £10 licence before they can light up.
No one would be able to buy cigarettes without first buying a permit, under the idea proposed by Health England – and the British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF) considers it a ‘welcome incentive’ for smokers trying to kick the habit.
Health England chairman Professor Julian Le Grand suggested the scheme and argues that it make a big difference to the number of people giving up smoking, adding that a bonus would be that the cash raised would go to the NHS.
He maintains that the inconvenience of purchasing a licence may maker smokers think twice before they indulge their habit.
He said: ‘It’s a little bit of a problem to actually do it, so you have got to make a conscious decision every year to opt in to being a smoker.
‘Seventy per cent of smokers actually want to stop smoking. So if you just make it that little bit more difficult for them to actually re-start or even to start in the first place, I think it will make a big difference.’
Dr Nigel Carter, BDFH chief executive, commented: ‘The Foundation supports any measures designed to reduce the number of smokers in this country.
‘We campaigned for the introduction of smoke-free workplaces and we would back this, too – particularly as any revenue generated would be put back into the NHS.
‘There is strong evidence that most smokers actually want to give up and, by making the habit even more inconvenient, we believe this rule could provide many people with the extra incentive they need to take the step and stop smoking.’