The UK Government plans to eliminate smoking from Britain by 2030, leaked documents reportedly show.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock will announce the target next week when he presents a Green Paper focusing on the importance of prevention.
Smoking remains the UK’s biggest preventable cause of cancer, despite rates of Britons lighting up halving in the the last 35 years.
Tobacco companies rather than health providers would be made to cover the cost of helping people to quit smoking, according to the leaked documents seen by the Daily Mail.
Black market cigarettes will also be targeted by ministers and quit leaflets will be placed inside legal cigarette packets.
“The gains in tobacco control have been hard-won, and there’s still much to do,” the plans seen by the Mail say.
“For the 15% of adults who are not yet smoke-free, smoking is the leading cause of ill-health and early death, and a major cause of inequalities. That’s why the Government wants to finish the job.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman said: “I’m afraid we can’t comment on leaks.”
Simon Clark, director of smokers’ group Forest, said people have the right to light up “without being harassed to quit”.
“It’s not up to government to dictate people’s lifestyle,” he said.
Throughout the UK, 14.7% of adults smoke, with England enjoying the lowest prevalence among constituent countries.
Scotland has the highest at 16.3%, followed by 15.9% in Wales and 15.5% in Northern Ireland.