• May 23, 2024

Criticism Mounts as U.K. Debates Generation Ban

 Criticism Mounts as U.K. Debates Generation Ban
Photo: Mistervlad

Criticism has been mounting ahead of a debate in the U.K. House of Commons on the government’s proposed generational tobacco ban.

Boris Johnson labeled the plans as “nuts,” according to the Daily Mail. During an appearance at a Canadian conference, the former British prime minister questioned why the party of cigar-chomping Winston Churchill wants to ban cigars.

On April 16, lawmakers are scheduled to debate a plan that would prevent anyone who is turning 15 this year or is younger from ever being able to legally buy tobacco products.

“We are, on the whole, in favor of freedom, and it is that single Anglo-Saxon idea of freedom that I think unites conservatives, or should unite conservatives,” said Johnson.

“And when I look at some of the things that we are doing now, or that are being done in the name of conservatism, I think they are absolutely nuts.”

Liz Truss, another former conservative prime minister, branded the proposal as “profoundly unconservative.”

Smokers’ rights group Forest called the legislation “ageist.”

“Given all the problems facing the country at home and abroad, it beggars belief that the prime minister has chosen to prioritize raising the age of sale of tobacco,” said Forest Director Simon Clark.

“If you are legally an adult, it’s ageist if you are denied the same rights as adults who may be only a year or two older than you are.”

Clark also cited a poll revealing that almost two-thirds (64 percent) of the public believe that if people are allowed to drive a car, join the army, possess a credit card, purchase alcohol and vote at 18, they should also be allowed to buy cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Despite such criticism, the law is likely to pass with support from opposition parties. The legislation is backed by a high proportion of the population, with another recent poll showing that almost three-quarters of Tory voters (71 percent) support it.