The Welsh Government has launched an ambitious new tobacco control strategy that aims to end the tobacco epidemic in Wales. 

The strategy lays out firm actions and policies that seeks to secure a smoke-free society with less than 5% of the adult population smoking, by 2030. 

The smoking addiction has gripped the nation for over 100 years, and despite the known risks, still kills 5,600 people in Wales every year.

Smoking is the leading cause of premature death and preventable ill-health in the country and is estimated to cost the Welsh NHS £302 million each year.

The National Survey for Wales currently places adult smoking prevalence in Wales at 13%. While this figure slowly declines, reaching 5% by 2030 will require a significant upturn in actions and commitment. 

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Wales’s leading tobacco control action group ASH Wales says the nation is firmly behind the new strategy which provides a solid blueprint for achieving a smoke-free society.

Suzanne Cass, CEO of ASH Wales, said: "Public support for an Endgame target is overwhelming, 73% of Welsh adults want Wales to become smoke-free. Welsh Governments’ commitment to this target is welcome, however, this bold strategy is going to need bold and decisive action to hit that 5% target by 2030.”

The publication of the new strategy has been eagerly awaited by other health charities across Wales.

Katie Till, Cancer Research UK’s public affairs manager in Wales, said: “Smoking remains the biggest preventable cause of cancer and is responsible for around 3,100 cancer cases in Wales every year. Achieving a smoke-free Wales by 2030 would save lives. For Wales to hit this target, we need to see ambition in the way we support people to quit and prevent people from starting.

“Smoking is also the single biggest driver of inequalities in life expectancy in the UK. It's critical the plan addresses this, so fewer people are affected by the harms of smoking in the future.”

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On a global scale, other countries have pledged similar ambitions in achieving a 5% smoking rate: including England, Scotland, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, and Sweden.

The new strategy will center on limiting smoking’s impact to health, children, finances and the environment. To achieve this the strategy will employ a series of delivery plans, which will focus on the following areas:

  • Smoke-Free environments
  • Continuous improvement and supporting innovation
  • Priority groups
  • Tackle illegal tobacco and the tobacco control legal framework
  • Working across the UK

Each area will hold equal importance and will be reviewed at the end of a two-year delivery period.

The new strategy and first phase delivery plan has been published in both Welsh and English, and can be found at