Tuesday, 28 May, 2024
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Britain takes first step with vote to ban smoking

Britain is on course to ban smoking for an entire generation after a historic vote in the House of Commons this week, which is likely to see the UK slowly become a smoke-free country in the future.

The controversial legislation, which if passed will mean that anyone aged 15 or younger today (or born after 2009) will never be able to buy cigarettes legally, has caused divisions in Parliament, with a number of members of the Cabinet abstaining from the vote.

While Prime Minister Rishi Sunak urged them to think of “future generations” in backing his flagship plan, others said it undermined the principle of equality under the law by treating adults differently – even if they were born just a day apart.

Former Health Secretary Kenneth Clarke also warned that the move risked being difficult to enforce, reports The Guardian.

“You will get to a stage where if you are 42-years-old, you will be able to buy cigarettes, but someone aged 41 will not be allowed to,” he said. “Does that mean you will have to produce your birth certificate? It may prove very difficult to enforce. Future generations will have to see whether it works or not.”

England’s chief medical officer Professor Sir Chris Whitty said cigarettes are a product that was “designed to take your choice away” through addiction.

“The great majority of smokers wish they had never started, but they become addicted at an early age and then they’re trapped and their choice has been taken away by that addiction.”

Doctors and health charities had all urged MPs to vote in favour of the proposals. Professor Steve Turner, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said the Bill would “without a doubt … save lives”, while Charmaine Griffiths, chief executive of the British Heart Foundation, said: “Decisive action is needed to end this ongoing public health tragedy.”


The Independent article – Rishi Sunak forces through vote for total ban on smoking for those born after 2009 (Open access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


UK Prime Minister defends plan to phase out smoking


Legal age to buy cigarettes in UK should rise from 18 to 21, say MPs


UK to ban disposable vapes


Tobacco giant Philip Morris to stop selling cigarettes in UK within a decade







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