UK To Introduce Legislation That Bans Smoking for the Next Generation

King Charles has recently reiterated Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s plan to eventually ban smoking in the U.K. for the next generation. With plans to raise the legal smoking age by one year, every year, meaning that a present day 14-year-old would never legally be able to buy a cigarette, Britain is now set to introduce a new legislation that will put plans in motion.

In his first State Opening of Parliament as monarch, King Charles urges a “smoke-free generation.” Prime Minister Sunak has previously mentioned plans to do so at the 2023 Conservative Party conference in Manchester. His planned detailed a phase out of the sale of cigarettes for the next generation in which he calls it a step forward to putting the overall health of the U.K. at the forefront. The PM also plans to crack down on the sale of e-cigarettes, vapes and more, specifically those that are made available to children under the age of 18. He noted in a speech,

“Four in five smokers have started by the time they’re 20, later the vast majority try to quit but many fail because they’re addicted and they wish they had never taken up the habit in the first place.

If we could break that cycle – if we could stop the start – then we would be on our way to ending the biggest cause of preventable death and disease in our country.

I propose that in future we raise the smoking age by one year every year. That means a 14-year-old today will never legally be sold a cigarette and that they and their generation can grow up smoke free.”

The new plans will effectively ban smoking in a similar format that was introduced in New Zealand just last December. With reforms around the legal smoking age making it essentially illegal for the next generation to ever buy cigarettes, the U.K. still needs to implement concrete plans to ensure this will work. With the growing concerns of single-use vapes targeted and marketed towards children, the PM is hoping that the strict availability of these vapes will deter the next generation from using them. The ban has been met with opposing opinions. It remains to be seen how it will be handled.

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