- By Alex Kleiderman
- BBC News
Messages encouraging UK smokers to quit could be placed inside packets of cigarettes under draft proposals being considered by the government.
The inserts would list the health and financial benefits of trying to stop and highlight support available, the Department of Health said.
They are already used in other countries including Canada and Israel,
According to the NHS, about 76,000 people in the UK die from smoking every year.
The government has pledged to end smoking in England by 2030, equating to reducing smoking rates to 5% or less of the population. Earlier this year experts predicted that target would be missed without further action.
Warnings have been printed on the outside of boxes for more than 50 years.
The Department of Health said inserts inside cigarette packets could include information about the money that could be saved by giving up smoking as well as the potential improvements to health.
It said an evaluation of the impact in Canada found that smokers exposed to the inserts were significantly more likely to try to give up.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health said: “It takes smokers on average 30 attempts before they succeed in stopping, so encouraging them to keep on trying is vital.
“Pack inserts do this by backing up the grim messages about death and disease on the outside with the best advice about how to quit on the inside.”
Health Secretary Steve Barclay said: “Smoking places a huge burden on the NHS, economy and individuals.
“By taking action to reduce smoking rates and pursuing our ambition to be smoke free by 2030, we will reduce the pressure on the NHS and help people to live healthier lives.”
The consultation runs until October and is seeking views on the government’s proposals.
It comes as the Department of Health publishes an initial report on its Major Conditions Strategy, which aims to improve treatment and prevention for six groups of conditions said to account for 60% of all ill-health and early death in England.
The conditions include cancer, cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases – all of which have been linked to smoking. Dementia, mental health and musculoskeletal disorders are also being targeted.