More

    Government introduces Tobacco and Vapes Bill

    Photo: iStock

    The government will introduce a bill in parliament on Wednesday to fulfill its promise to phase out smoking among young people by banning tobacco sales for future generations.

    The Tobacco and Vapes Bill, if passed unamended, will be one of the world’s toughest anti-tobacco laws and prevent children turning 15 this year or younger from ever being able to be legally sold tobacco.

    The government said smoking itself would not be criminalised, therefore anyone who can legally buy tobacco now will not be prevented from doing so in future.

    “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,” prime minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement.

    Critics say the move is “unconservative”, and former prime minister Liz Truss is one of several members of the governing party to say they will vote against the legislation.

    Despite the opposition, the legislation is expected to pass with the opposition Labour Party suggesting it would support the measure.

    Last month, a similar law introduced by New Zealand banning tobacco sales to those born after Jan. 1, 2009 was repealed by the country’s new coalition government.

    The British government said smoking costs its National Health Service and economy an estimated £17 billion a year.

    A sharp rise in vape use by non-smokers and young people has forced the British government – a proponent of vaping as a way to reduce the harms of smoking – to consider tougher controls.

    Under the proposed legislation, there will also be new powers to change how vapes are displayed in shops, restrict vape flavours and packaging intentionally marketed at children to combat the rise in youth vaping.

    Under the Bill, enforcement officers’ powers will also be strengthened with ‘on the spot fines’ of £100 to uphold the new laws and clamp down on underage sales of tobacco and vaping products. This builds on a maximum £2,500 fine that local authorities can already impose. It will also no longer be legal to give free samples of vapes to under 18s.

    Additionally, the government has committed to ban the sale and supply of disposable vapes from April 2025 under separate environmental legislation.

    Responding to the development, Simon Clark, director of the smokers’ rights group Forest, said the government has no mandate to ban the sale of tobacco to adults.

    “The policy has never featured in a single election manifesto, and less than a year ago the government dismissed the idea as ‘too big a departure’ and said it wasn’t going to pursue it,” he said.

    “What’s changed, apart from Rishi Sunak’s increasingly desperate attempts to leave a personal legacy?”

    A recent poll conducted by Yonder Consulting for Forest found that almost two thirds of adults in Britain say that when people are 18 and legally an adult they should be allowed to purchase cigarettes and other tobacco products.

    The survey found that 64 per cent of respondents think that if a person can vote, drive a car, join the army, buy alcohol, and possess a credit card at 18, they should also be allowed to purchase tobacco.

    Only a quarter (26%) said they should not be allowed to purchase tobacco products when they are legally an adult at 18, while 10% said ‘don’t know’.

    “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,” Clark added.

    “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.”

    Latest

    Bira launches podcast for independent retailers

    The British Independent Retailers Association is giving independent businesses across the...

    Shipping container full of illegal vapes can’t be disposed of

    By Natalia Forero, Local Democracy Reporter A shipping container full...

    Tooting shop fined again for selling vapes to children

    By Joe Coughlan, Local Democracy Reporter A store in Tooting...

    New owners for Wallsend shop plagued by historic ‘serious criminal behaviours’

    By Austen Shakespeare, Local Democracy Reporter A Wallsend shop subject...

    Don't miss

    Bira launches podcast for independent retailers

    The British Independent Retailers Association is giving independent businesses across the...

    Shipping container full of illegal vapes can’t be disposed of

    By Natalia Forero, Local Democracy Reporter A shipping container full...

    Tooting shop fined again for selling vapes to children

    By Joe Coughlan, Local Democracy Reporter A store in Tooting...

    New owners for Wallsend shop plagued by historic ‘serious criminal behaviours’

    By Austen Shakespeare, Local Democracy Reporter A Wallsend shop subject...

    New age solutions to make stores smarter

    There is a sea of technological solutions that can...

    Bira launches podcast for independent retailers

    The British Independent Retailers Association is giving independent businesses across the UK a powerful new resource with the launch of its "High Street Matters" podcast.Hosted by...

    Shipping container full of illegal vapes can’t be disposed of

    By Natalia Forero, Local Democracy Reporter A shipping container full of illegal vapes worth £300,000 is waiting to be safely disposed of by trading standards,...

    Tooting shop fined again for selling vapes to children

    By Joe Coughlan, Local Democracy Reporter A store in Tooting has been fined over £7,000 after being caught selling vapes to children for a second...