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Government proposals to create first ‘smokefree generation’ receive massive public response

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The government allocates £70 million for local stop-smoking services to help nearly 360,000 people quit smoking  

The UK government’s proposal to introduce a tobacco and vapes bill received support from the public to create the first ‘smokefree generation’.

The historic law to ban the sale of tobacco products to children aged 14 and younger from legally being sold cigarettes in England.

King Charles delivered his first speech as monarch at the state opening of Parliament on Tuesday, 7 November.

The monarch announced the introduction of the “tobacco and vapes bill” in his speech, and it read: “My Government will introduce legislation to create a smoke-free generation by restricting the sale of tobacco so that children currently aged 14 or younger can never be sold cigarettes, and restricting the sale and marketing of e-cigarettes to children.”

If the bill is passed, the sale of tobacco products to anyone born on or after 1 January 2009 would become an offence in the country.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Steve Barclay, said smoking kills “tens of thousands of people every single year.”

He believes that this historic legislation will protect the “next generation”, and prevent the children from starting smoking and improve the nation’s health.

“The increased new investment of £70 million per year will double current funding for such services and will help save countless lives up and down the country,” he added.

Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, confirmed that the “response to the consultation shows people care strongly about this issue.”

“If passed, the bill will help ensure the next generation is smoke-free and the additional funding will help current smokers stop, preventing major future harm,” he added.

Moreover, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak recently announced a public consultation on plans to create a “smoke-free generation” and crack down on “youth vaping” at the Tory conference.

The consultation, just less than halfway through the period, has already received more than 12,000 responses.

The live public consultation closes on 6 December as confirmed by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

Members of the public are also asked for their input on proposals to prevent underage and illicit sales of tobacco and vapes.

Commenting on plans to introduce this historic law, Sunak said: “I want to build a brighter future for our children, which means taking the necessary decisions for the long-term interests of our country.

“Smoking is a deadly habit, so we are making the biggest single public health intervention in a generation to stop our kids from ever being able to buy a cigarette.

“This will protect their health both now and in future – saving tens of thousands of lives and saving the NHS billions of pounds.”

Government strengthening efforts to phase out smoking

Further strengthening its fight against smoking, the government has allocated £70 million for local stop-smoking services and support in every local authority in England.

This new funding, which is more than double the current funding available for these services, will help around 360,000 people to quit smoking, the DHSC stated.

In addition, the government in partnership with the Local Government Association has released guidance to local authorities on how to use this funding.

The guidance emphasises building capacity in local areas to help more people quit, linking smokers to the most effective interventions and supporting existing support schemes like Swap to Stop.

This Swap to Stop scheme offers a free vaping starter kit to a million smokers across England.

Earlier this year, the government announced £30 million to further support local trading standards, His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and Border Force.

The fund is being used by the agencies to take action to stop underage sales and tackle the import of illicit tobacco and vaping products at the border.

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