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MPs vote through smoking ban for future generations

MPs vote through smoking ban for future generations

A ban on smoking for future generations has made progress in Parliament with MPs voting it through last night.

The House of Commons vote saw 383 MPs vote in favour and 67 MPs vote against the Tobacco and Vapes Bill.

The bill will now need to pass a number of other hurdles, including a committee stage and then the same process in the House of Lords.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the smoking ban proposal in October, saying the bill will make it an offence to sell tobacco products to anyone born on or after 1 January 2009.

But last night, 57 Conservative MPs voted against the Prime Minister’s landmark legislation.

If passed through Parliament, the law will stop children turning 15 or younger this year from ever legally being sold tobacco products, raising the smoking age by a year each year until it applies to the whole population.

The legislation will also introduce measures to ‘crack down on youth vaping’ and strengthen enforcement of vaping restrictions.

This could include restrictions on ‘child friendly flavours and packaging’ as well as the way they are displayed in shops.

In her opening speech yesterday, health secretary Victoria Atkins said this ban will not ‘affect current smokers’ rights’ but aims to give the future generations ‘the freedom to live longer, healthier, more productive lives’.

She also emphasised the health risks of smoking, saying it is responsible for 75,000 GP appointments every month.

Ms Atkins continued: ‘The vast majority of smokers start when they are young, and three-quarters say that if they could turn back the clock, they would not have started.

‘That is why, through this Bill, we are creating a smokefree generation that will guarantee that no one who is turning 15 or younger this year will ever be legally sold tobacco, saving them from the misery of repeated attempts to give up, making our economy more productive, and building an NHS that delivers faster, simpler, and fairer care.’

Modelling by the Department of Health and Social Care has shown that the legislation will reduce smoking rates among 14 to 30-year-olds in England ‘to close to zero as soon as 2040’, Ms Atkins claimed.

Professor Lion Shahab, professor of health psychology and co-director of the UCL Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group, said the tobacco industry has ’caused untold misery far and wide’ by creating a product that is ‘both highly addictive and deadly’.

He added: ‘If parliament passes this new bill, it will put the UK at the very forefront of the fight to eradicate one of the most harmful inventions of modern times and protect the future of the next generation to allow them to live a full life, unencumbered by preventable cancers, cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases.’

Last month, chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced a new tax on vaping products that will be introduced from October 2026.

A version of this story was first published on our sister title Pulse.

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