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Creating smokefree generation: MPs to vote on Tobacco and Vapes Bill today

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If passed, the bill will help deliver Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s commitment to creating a smokefree generation

Today, the UK will move one step closer to realising the vision of a smokefree generation as members of parliament (MPs) are poised to vote on the Tobacco and Vapes Bill.

The landmark bill proposed making it illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone born after 1 January 2009.

If passed, not only will it protect children turning 15 this year or younger from the harms of smoking, but it will also ease the strain on our NHS and improve the UK’s productivity.

Smoking is considered the single biggest preventable killer in the UK, accounting for around 80,000 deaths annually.

According to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), smoking costs the NHS and economy an estimated £17 billion each year, surpassing the £10 billion annual revenue from tobacco taxation.

It is believed that the bill will contribute to fulfilling the Prime Minister’s commitment to creating a smokefree generation, potentially preventing more than 470,000 cases of heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, and other deadly diseases by the end of the century.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Victoria Atkins, said: “The truth is that there is no safe level of tobacco consumption. It is uniquely harmful and that is why we are taking this important action today to protect the next generation.

“This bill will save thousands of lives, ease the strain on our NHS and improve the UK’s productivity.”

To address youth vaping, the bill also proposes imposing restrictions on flavours and regulations on the sale and packaging of vapes to reduce their appeal to children.

Smoking is highly addictive, with four out of five smokers starting the habit before the age of 20 and remaining addicted for the rest of their lives despite the majority attempting to quit at some point, the DHSC noted.

In England, an individual with a smoking-related condition is hospitalised nearly every minute.

Public Health Minister Andrea Leadsom, said: “Because the case against these harmful products is so strong, it’s not surprising that the majority of the British public – including those who smoke and those who sell tobacco – support plans to protect the next generation from the misery of smoking.

“Our plan will save lives, ease the strain on our NHS and ensure a brighter future for our children.”

Alongside action to prevent creating future smokers, the government has already announced significant additional funding for stop smoking services over the next 5 years, effectively doubling the money available for local initiatives that can help existing smokers to quit. The government is also rolling out an innovative financial incentives scheme to help all pregnant smokers to quit.

Moreover, the government is introducing an innovative financial incentives scheme to help all pregnant smokers to quit.

 

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Current Issue March 2024

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