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Legal smoking age could be raised to 21 and extra taxes slapped on cigarettes

Plans to crackdown on smoking could raise the legal age to 21, with the major change in smoking laws set to be unveiled tomorrow.

Tobacco companies could be slapped with more taxes following the release of a delayed review into the habit, which was authorised by health secretary Sajid Javid.

It comes after it was revealed that there has been a 25 per cent increase in uptake by under-30s – with an additional 600,000 people picking up the habit during the pandemic.

Javed Khan, who carried out the review, warned that the UK's target to slash smokers to 5 per cent of the population by 2030 would not be achievable.

He stressed that the Government would need to take urgent action and cut down sales, if they want to meet the ambitious goal.

A source close to Mr Khan, previously said: "The stance he’s taken in the meetings I’ve had with him has been quite radical."

According to The Sun, a government source said there was an option for ministers to not welcome the results of the review.

Another source said as a “general point of principle, the view has always been that 18 is widely recognised as the age of adulthood."

The new rules could see Brits have better access to vaping and e-cigarettes, as part of a push for alternative options to cigarettes.

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It has been reported that new taxes could raise a staggering £700 million a year, which would help provide e-cigarettes on the NHS.

An insider commented: "Sajid Javid is interested in health inequality and he is interested in tackling public health issues, but the Government is in hock to right-wing MPs.

"On tobacco, they are still nervous about some kind of nanny state attack.”

According to sources, Khan would prefer to see the age increase to 25, however, it is more likely that the legal age of 21 will be recommended.

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