UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has outlined the possibility of a strict ban on smoking for the next generation. If imposed, it would be some of the strictest anti-smoking measures in the world. In the opening of Parliament today (November 7), King Charles III reiterated that these measures announced by Sunak are still planned to go ahead.
The initial news, which was detailed at the 2023 Conservative party conference in Manchester, followed the announcement that the UK government is ready to ban single-use vapes on the grounds of health and environmental concerns. It also comes after New Zealand implemented an annually rising smoking age, which will ultimately mean cigarettes and tobacco will never be legally sold to anyone born on or after January 1, 2009.
According to the Guardian, Sunak is looking to introduce a similar regime, which is all part of a new drive ahead of next year’s election. They reported that, when asked about the smoking ban, a government spokesperson said:
“Smoking is a deadly habit – it kills tens of thousands of people each year and places a huge burden on the NHS and the economy. We want to encourage more people to quit and meet our ambition to be smoke-free by 2030.”
Will current smokers be affected by the ban?
We have very little information at this time as nothing has been confirmed, but it seems as though, if implemented, it would mimic the regime that New Zealand brought into play at the end of 2022. For context, New Zealand’s ban will only result in a total ban for those aged 14 and younger, who will never be able to legally purchase cigarettes or tobacco products. This means that the legal age of smoking would, in effect, rise every year.
Currently, anyone over the age of 18 can buy tobacco products in the United Kingdom.
What is the timeline for implementing the ban?
So far, it’s still only a proposal, but it looks set to be moving forward following the announcement by King Charles III in today’s address. Keep an eye on our page for further updates.
Also published on Medium.