Smokers’ rights group Forest condemned the U.K. government’s official announcement of legislation that will deny future generations of adults the right to purchase tobacco.
During the opening of the new session of Britain’s parliament today, King Charles presented the government’s plans for new legislation, which includes a generational tobacco bill, as reported by the BBC and other news outlets.
The proposed legislation would make it illegal for anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 2009, to ever legally buy cigarettes, effectively raising the legal age of purchase by one year, every year.
The government is also looking to bring in rules regulating the flavors and descriptions of vapes that critics say are targeted at children.
“This is the worst form of nanny state regulation because it treats consenting adults like children,” said Forest Director Simon Clark.
“If you’re old enough to vote, drive a car, join the army, and purchase alcohol, you’re old enough to buy cigarettes and other tobacco products.
Clark warned that the legislation would boost the black market.
“The biggest benefactor from prohibition won’t be public health but criminal gangs and other illicit traders,” he said.
“Given everything else that is going on in the world, at home and abroad, it’s staggering that a Conservative government would waste valuable parliamentary time banning the sale of tobacco to adults who are perfectly capable of making informed decisions for themselves.”