Feb 1 2010
Health Secretary Andy Burnham has pledged to halve the number of smokers in England by 2020.
Mr Burnham announced measures which aim to cut the number of smokers from a fifth (21%) of the population to one in 10 (10%) in the next 10 years.
The target would mean around four million of England's estimated eight million smokers quitting.
He said: "The Government has made massive progress on tobacco over the past decade. Ten years ago, millions more people smoked and many have died early as a result.
"We've come so far and now we'll go even further - to push forward and save even more lives.
"(The) strategy renews our commitment to virtually eradicate the health harms caused by smoking, and I firmly believe we can halve smoking by 2020. In 10 years' time, only one in 10 people will smoke."
The commitments include a review of the law to consider if areas like entrances to buildings should be included in the smoking ban as part of further measures to protect children which would include the promotion of smoke-free homes and cars.
The Government is also considering stopping the sale of tobacco from vending machines - considered a significant source of tobacco for young people. And plain packaging for cigarettes is also under review.
The Department of Health said 337,000 people stopped smoking last year with the help of free support from the NHS and the number of smokers has fallen by a quarter in the past decade. In 2007 more than 80,000 deaths and 1.4 million hospital admissions were attributed to smoking and the Department of Health said the habit costs the NHS £2.7 billion a year.
An estimated 200,000 young people start smoking every year.