Alcohol, smoking and poor childhood diets are among public health issues that should be targeted by the next government, doctors have said.
Measures such as imposing a minimum unit price on alcohol and a ban on selling cigarettes to anyone born after 2000 are being backed by the British Medical Association (BMA).
They were included in the union’s manifesto on the areas medics believe should be made a priority after next year’s general election.
The BMA, which represents more than 153,000 doctors and students from all branches of medicine, also claimed “creeping privatisation” needed to be reversed.
Among the measures suggested to improve public health was “decisive action to reduce the affordability and availability of alcohol”.
The manifesto added: “As a first step, a minimum unit price of no less than 50p should be introduced.”
It also called for moves to ensure the UK “remains a world leader on tobacco control”, citing a possible ban on the sale of cigarettes to any person born after the year 2000.
In June doctors at the BMA’s annual representative meeting voted “overwhelmingly” in favour of a motion calling for the union to campaign to “ban forever the sale of cigarettes to any individual born after the year 2000”.
The BMA is also urging the next government to “recognise the lifelong burden of physical inactivity and poor diets on children and young people by curbing the promotion and availability of unhealthy foods” as well as providing “sufficient opportunities for sport and exercise”.
The BMA, which represents more than 153,000 doctors and students from all branches of medicine, also claimed “creeping privatisation” needs to be reversed.
Dr Mark Porter, chair of the BMA Council, said: “Doctors want an NHS that prioritises patient care above all.
“To do this, services need to be properly funded and we need to reverse the creeping privatisation that has taken place under successive governments and compromises the quality of patient care.”
The NHS is facing a “£30bn black hole in funding, while demand on services has never been greater while demand on services has never been greater”, he said.
Dr Porter added: “Our GP surgeries are full, waiting lists are at a six year high, a quarter of hospital trusts are in the red - securing the future of the NHS must be at the top of the next government’s agenda.”