Rishi Sunak has officially announced plans to prohibit the sale of cigarettes to children born after 2009. The Prime Minister believes that this measure will create a better future for the younger generation. Health campaigners, experts, and charities have praised this action, calling it the most significant public health intervention in years. However, critics and members of the Conservative party have criticized the proposals, labeling them as illiberal and creeping prohibition. Notable figures opposing the ban include former Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, as well as ex-UKIP leader Nigel Farage.
Additionally, the government is considering implementing stricter regulations on vaping. One possibility is the introduction of an extra tax on e-cigarettes, which can currently be purchased for as little as £5. During his speech to Parliament, King Charles stated that the government would introduce legislation to create a smoke-free generation by restricting the sale of tobacco and regulating the sale and marketing of e-cigarettes to children.
The government has defended its decision to tackle smoking, which it considers the leading cause of preventable ill-health. They argue that smoking costs the economy £17 billion annually due to lost productivity and its impact on the NHS. To support their stance, they have presented statistics highlighting these economic consequences.
Overall, Rishi Sunak’s announcement to ban the sale of cigarettes to future generations has received widespread support from health campaigners, experts, and charities. However, critics, including prominent figures such as Boris Johnson, Liz Truss, and Nigel Farage, have voiced their concerns. The government is also considering tighter regulations on vaping, including the possibility of implementing an additional tax on e-cigarettes. They defend their actions by emphasizing the economic impact of smoking on productivity and the NHS.The Government has introduced the Tobacco and Vapes Bill, with the aim of tackling smoking, which is the leading cause of preventable illness, disability, and death. The Bill is seen as a necessary step to build a better future for children and address the addictive nature of tobacco. The Government emphasizes the importance of preventing addiction by targeting the age at which people start smoking, as four fifths of smokers begin before the age of 20. However, the plan has faced opposition from within the Conservative Party.
Tobacco smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals, including substances that can narrow arteries and damage blood vessels. Nicotine, found in tobacco, is highly addictive and can lead to dangerous increases in heart rate and blood pressure. Smoking also releases poisonous gases like carbon monoxide, which reduces the availability of oxygen for the heart. Smoking is responsible for a significant number of deaths.Smoking is responsible for the deaths of over seven million people worldwide each year, with 890,000 of those deaths resulting from second-hand smoke. Surprisingly, nearly half of these deaths, around three million, are caused by heart disease, including heart attacks and strokes.
Former Prime Minister Truss, who advocated against taxing and banning things, is expected to vote against Mr. Sunak’s plans in the House of Commons. Boris Johnson also criticized the proposals, calling them “barmy” in a previous statement. In his Daily Mail column, Johnson expressed concern about criminalizing ordinary behavior without considering the consequences. Former UKIP leader Farage also condemned the plan, warning that it would create a black market.
Mr. Sunak is determined to crack down on youth vaping and is considering banning attractive flavors and packaging, as well as regulating sale displays. Disposable vapes, popular among teenagers, may also be targeted. This follows the lead of countries like the US and Canada, which have already restricted flavors. The government attributes the need for these measures to rules inherited from the EU, claiming that vapes are being marketed to children on a large scale.
The government is also considering raising taxes on vapes to make them unaffordable for children, although they do not want to make them inaccessible to adult smokers. Starting in April, funding packages of up to £140 million will be available to support people in quitting smoking. Additionally, £5 million in 2023/24 and £15 million until 2028/29 will be allocated for national anti-smoking campaigns.
The smoking ban will apply to England and Wales but only to England. The government is working closely with the devolved administrations on their own measures. Charities and experts believe that the ban, which effectively raises the age of tobacco sale by one year annually, will save tens of thousands of lives from preventable smoking-related causes such as cancer, heart attacks, and strokes. Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, Michelle Mitchell, expressed support for the government’s commitment to changing the age of tobacco sale.The Government should introduce this legislation to Parliament in early 2024, and we urge MPs from all parties to support it. It is rare to find someone who wants their child to start smoking. According to Cancer Research UK, there are approximately 885,000 16-24 year-olds who smoke in the UK today.
According to Our World In Data, in 2020, 13.7% of New Zealanders smoked, compared to 15.4% of Brits and 23% of Americans.
Last year, a spokesperson for the Department of Health stated that addressing smoking issues was a top priority for the office. Here is a list of recommended actions from a significant government-backed report.
In a video, Rishi Sunak defies a Tory revolt and pledges to create a smoke-free generation by banning children aged 14 from buying cigarettes.The deputy chief executive at NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery, expressed that trust leaders will appreciate the prioritization of banning smoking for future generations and restricting the sale of e-cigarettes. Cordery also emphasized that smoking remains a significant public health challenge and a major driver of health inequalities.
Richard Murray, the chief executive of The King’s Fund, stated that passing the smoking ban legislation would be a significant milestone, and the government should have the courage to implement the ban quickly. Murray also expressed disappointment in the delay of implementing other measures, such as banning junk food advertising to tackle obesity, after they were passed into law.
Greg Fell, the president of the Association of Directors of Public Health, commented that the possibility of a smoke-free UK is now one step closer to becoming a reality.
In related news, Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has defied a Tory revolt and vowed to create a smoke-free generation by implementing a law that bans children aged 14 from buying cigarettes. This development brings the UK closer to achieving a smoke-free status.The ban on smoking in public places has resulted in significant progress, but funding cuts have negatively impacted public health services. However, the proposed additional £70 million for public health services will not only protect children and young people from addiction but also provide much-needed resources to help those already addicted quit. The voting on the smoking Bill will be a conscience vote, allowing Tory MPs to make their own decisions, while Labour supports the plan. The UK’s largest tobacco companies, whose shares plummeted by nearly £1 billion after the announcement, have expressed concerns about the plan’s unintended consequences. The phased ban on legal sales is expected to gradually decrease tobacco duties, which are estimated to raise £10.4 billion for the Treasury this year. The director general of the Institute of Economic Affairs think-tank criticizes the plan for perpetuating overregulation, high taxes, and low economic growth. He also argues that the ban on smoking removes personal choice and creates opportunities for black market sellers. However, the Government believes that the phased ban will lead to 1.7 million fewer smokers by 2075, saving lives and preventing numerous cases of diseases. The Chancellor of the Exchequer assures that smoking will not be criminalized, and individuals subject to the ban will not be fined for purchasing cigarettes abroad. The Government also emphasizes that those who can legally buy cigarettes now will not be prevented from doing so in the future. This policy is similar to the one implemented in New Zealand, where individuals born after 2009 will never be able to legally purchase cigarettes. The impact of this policy on smoking cessation is still uncertain, but experts are optimistic about its effectiveness.Tests conducted on e-cigarettes confiscated from young individuals revealed dangerous levels of lead, nickel, and chromium. Some of these levels were nearly ten times higher than the safe limits. Exposure to lead can have detrimental effects on brain development, while the presence of nickel and chromium can trigger blood clotting.
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) indicate that the number of people smoking cigarettes in the UK has reached a record low. In 2022, a total of 6.4 million adults in the UK, which accounts for 12.9% of the population, were smokers. This is the lowest number recorded since 2011 and represents a decrease from the 13.3% reported in 2021.
The recommendation to adopt this approach was initially made in a report commissioned by the government last year. The report was authored by Javed Khan, the former chief of a children’s charity. Khan’s task was to identify strategies that would enable England to become smoke-free by 2030, defined as having less than 5% of the population smoking.
At the time, Khan issued a warning that without immediate action, England would not achieve the smoke-free target until at least 2037, with the poorest areas not reaching it until 2044. In addition to the policy announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Khan proposed banning supermarkets from selling tobacco products, implementing a ban on smoking in public places such as pub gardens, and assigning an 18-plus rating to all films and TV shows featuring tobacco imagery.
Khan emphasized that smoking costs the country £17 billion annually, with the NHS alone bearing a burden of £2.4 billion. The smoking rate in the UK is currently at a record low of 12.9%, equivalent to approximately 6.4 million individuals. However, smoking still claims the lives of around 78,000 people in the UK each year, with many others suffering from smoking-related illnesses, half of which are attributed to cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes.
It is estimated that smoking is responsible for approximately 500,000 hospital admissions in England each year, and the economic cost of smoking amounts to £17 billion annually. Out of this total, £2.4 billion is incurred by the NHS, £1.19 billion by the social care system, and over £13 billion is lost in productivity costs due to tobacco-related issues such as lost earnings, unemployment, and premature death.
Tobacco contains around 7,000 chemicals, including tar and other substances that can constrict arteries and cause damage.Some of the harm caused by smoking to the heart is believed to be caused by the constriction of blood vessels. Additionally, nicotine, a highly addictive toxin found in tobacco, is strongly associated with harmful elevations in heart rate and blood pressure. Furthermore, smoking releases toxic gases like carbon monoxide, which displaces oxygen in the blood, leading to a decrease in the amount of oxygen available for the heart.
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