• May 23, 2024

Britain’s Generation Ban Passes First Vote

 Britain’s Generation Ban Passes First Vote
Photo: sezerozger

Lawmakers approved British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s plan to ban anyone aged 15 and under from ever buying cigarettes despite opposition from some prominent members of his Conservative party, reports Reuters.

The bill passed a vote in Britain’s parliament with 383 in favor and 67 against.

Fifty-seven Conservatives, including Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch, voted against the plan. Earlier, two former prime ministers, Liz Truss and Boris Johnson, had come out against the legislation, with Truss describing the draft legislation as “unconservative” and Johnson calling it “nuts.”

The ban enjoys strong support among healthcare professionals, who say that smoking causes 80,000 premature deaths every year, along with many more smoking-related illnesses.

In a recent YouGov poll, a third of voters supported the phased approach and 30 percent supported a ban for everyone at the same time. Only a quarter said there should be no ban.

Badenoch said that while she agreed with Sunak’s intentions, she opposed the bill as she was concerned about its impact on people’s rights and difficulty in enforcing the policy.

Earlier this year, New Zealand scrapped a similar law after a new coalition government took power in late 2023. The government said it favored a harm-reduction approach to discourage smoking, but critics accused it of succumbing to tobacco lobbying.

Britain’s generational tobacco ban will now progress to the next stage in parliament, where it can be subject to amendment.