Smoking ban bill that will stop teenagers taking up the habit goes before MPs | Politics | News

Rishi Sunak vowed to save thousands of lives and billions of pounds for the NHS by creating a new smoke free generation.

Planned new laws stopping anyone 15 or younger from ever being able to legally buy cigarettes will be introduced in parliament today (WED).

The Prime Minister said the legislation will prevent children from becoming hooked on nicotine.

He said: “If we want to build a better future for our children we need to tackle the single biggest entirely preventable cause of ill-health, disability and death: smoking.

“That is why, alongside new measures to curb the alarming rise in youth vaping, we are delivering on our commitment to create a smokefree generation and stop our kids from getting hooked on harmful cigarettes and other nicotine products.

“This important change will save thousands of lives and billions of pounds for our NHS, freeing up new resource than can be spent to improve outcomes for patients right across the UK”.

As many as 100 Tories could vote against the bill when they are given a free vote on it in the coming weeks.

Former prime minister Liz Truss said the reforms are “profoundly unconservative”.

But Labour has given backing to the move, meaning it will pass into law.

Under the changes, smoking itself will not be criminalised and anyone who can legally buy tobacco now will not be prevented from doing so.

The Bill will also tackle youth vaping, by introducing new powers to restrict vape flavours and packaging intentionally marketed at children.

Figures show that one in five children has tried vaping despite it being illegal for under-18s, while the number of children using vapes has tripled in the past three years.

Simon Clark, director of the smokers’ rights group Forest, said the Government has no mandate to ban the sale of tobacco to future generations of adults.

He added: “No-one wants children to smoke, but the idea that Government should take away people’s freedom to choose long after they have grown up is absurd.

“Instead of rushing this vanity project through Parliament, the Prime Minister should include the policy in the Tories’ election manifesto and let the people decide.”

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