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Cigarette ban ‘being considered by Prime Minister for future Because Of This -say reports

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England could end up following in the footsteps of New Zealand which aims to eventually ban sale of tobacco products to anyone born after January 1, 2009

Reports that the Prime Minister may adopt measures to effectively ban cigarettes for the next generation have not been denied by Downing Street today (Friday).

According to The Guardian, Rishi Sunak is considering implementing some of the world’s toughest anti-smoking measures by gradually increasing the legal age for consuming tobacco, as recommended by a major review led by Dr Javed Khan last year.

This would mean increasing the age of sale from 18 by one year every year until no one can buy a tobacco product in the country by 2026.

Although Health Minister Neil O’Brien rejected this approach in April, saying the Government’s policy for achieving a smoke-free nation by 2030 would focus on helping people to quit rather than applying bans, Downing Street has not dismissed Friday’s report that a more stringent approach could be adopted.

In June 2022, Dr Khan’s Government-commissioned report stated that without urgent action, England would miss the 2030 target by at least seven years, with the poorest areas not meeting it until 2044. He estimated the annual cost of smoking to society at about £17 billion, with £2.4 billion of that cost attributed to the NHS alone.

A UK Government spokesman acknowledged that smoking is a deadly habit that kills tens of thousands of people each year and places a huge burden on the NHS and the economy.

The spokesman stated that the government wants to encourage more people to quit and meet its ambition to be smoke-free by 2030, which is why it has already taken steps to reduce smoking rates.

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These steps include providing one million smokers in England with free vape kits via the “swap to stop” scheme, launching a voucher scheme to incentivize pregnant women to quit, and consulting on mandatory cigarette pack inserts.

The legal age for buying cigarettes and other tobacco products in England and Wales is 18, having been raised from 16 in 2007 by the previous Labour government. Campaigners suggest Friday’s report indicates a new direction from the Conservative Government.

However, smokers-rights group Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco (Forest) opposes raising the age of sale and believes it will not stop people from smoking. Director Simon Clark said a ban would simply drive the sale of cigarettes underground and into the hands of criminal gangs.

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Birminghamgist Staff is a News Reporter, making waves in the UK with insightful and Engaging reporting.

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