UK set to ban tobacco sales for a ‘smoke-free’ generation. Will it work?


UK set to ban tobacco sales for a ‘smoke-free’ generation. Will it work?

Quick Facts

  • Parliament approved the government’s plans to create a “smoke-free” generation to reduce smoking-related diseases.
  • The ban will raise the legal age limit for purchasing tobacco, with the goal of eradicating smoking among young people by 2040.
  • The legislation faces opposition from some members of the ruling Conservative Party, citing concerns about personal freedoms.

Britain is set to impose tough measures to stub out smoking, a leading cause of cancer deaths in the country. The government has garnered parliamentary approval for its “historic” plans to create a “smoke-free” generation, aiming to reduce the number of people dying from smoking-related diseases. MPs voted 383-67 to give the Tobacco and Vapes Bill a second reading, with support from the public and vocal opposition from some Conservative Party members. The bill intends to prevent people turning 15 this year and younger individuals from legally purchasing tobacco. It also seeks to restrict young people’s access to vaping. The proposed ban is viewed positively by about two-thirds of the UK population. Health Secretary Victoria Atkins emphasized the liberty lost to addiction, while facing criticism from libertarians within the Conservative Party who perceive it as an infringement on personal freedoms.

What’s does the ban cover?

Rather than criminalizing the habit, the bill aims to ensure people turning 15 this year and those who are younger will never be able to legally buy tobacco. The government intends to bar sales to anyone born after January 1, 2009, increasing the legal age limit by one year every year until the person turns 18. The new system will be up and running by 2027, when current 15-year-olds turn 18. All going according to plan, the government envisages that smoking among young people could be eradicated by 2040.

What’s behind the ban?

Smoking is the United Kingdom’s biggest preventable killer, leading to approximately 64,000 deaths in England per year. With the new ban, the UK government hopes to prevent more than 470,000 cases of heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, and other diseases by the end of the century. The legislation also seeks to clamp down on young people vaping by restricting flavors and packaging to make them less appealing to children.


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