Experts demand UK U-turns on 'absurd' smoking ban that would make it illegal ... trends now

Experts demand UK U-turns on 'absurd' smoking ban that would make it illegal ... trends now
Experts demand UK U-turns on 'absurd' smoking ban that would make it illegal ... trends now

Experts demand UK U-turns on 'absurd' smoking ban that would make it illegal ... trends now

Britain should bin its 'absurd' smoking ban after New Zealand U-turned on its trail-blazing policy, experts said today.

New Zealand was gearing up to progressively raise the legal age that people could purchase tobacco, in what would have been a world-first.

Brought in under ex-Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, darling of the global left, the radical scheme would have prohibited children born after 2009 from ever legally being able to buy cigarettes.

But the new PM Christopher Luxon, head of a newly elected Conservative coalition Government, has confirmed plans to formally repeal it next week.

Now critics of Rishi Sunak's plan to bring in England's own generational smoking ban have urged MPs to ditch his 'vanity project'. 

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 2023 health report showed 12.7 per cent of Brits over the age of 15 smoke cigarettes daily, higher than the US and New Zealand. The latter was set to implement its new smoking ban from July

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 2023 health report showed 12.7 per cent of Brits over the age of 15 smoke cigarettes daily, higher than the US and New Zealand. The latter was set to implement its new smoking ban from July

Critics of UK PM Rishi Sunak's plan to bring in England's own generational smoking ban have urged MPs to ditch his 'vanity project' in wake of New Zealand's abandonment of its policy

Critics of UK PM Rishi Sunak's plan to bring in England's own generational smoking ban have urged MPs to ditch his 'vanity project' in wake of New Zealand's abandonment of its policy

Christopher Snowdon, head of lifestyle economics at conservative thinktank, the Institute of Economic Affairs, said it showed how foolhardy the UK's pursuit of a similar ban was. 

'In New Zealand, the generational tobacco ban was an authoritarian remnant of Jacinda Ardern's left-wing government,' he said. 

'The new government realised that prohibition doesn't work and rightly ditched it. 

'The UK is now the only country in the world that takes this absurd idea seriously.'

Mr Snowdon urged MPs to put a stop to what he called Mr Sunak's 'vanity project'.

'Mr Sunak is unlikely to be Prime Minister when the damage done by his prohibition starts to bite,' he said. 

HISTORY OF SMOKING POLICY IN THE UK 

2004: Ireland bans smoking in enclosed public places, including pubs, clubs and restaurants 

2006: Scotland implements smoking ban on indoor public spaces

2007: England, Wales and Northern Ireland bring in indoor ban. In England, smoking is banned in almost all enclosed public spaces and the NHS goes smoke-free. Legal age to buy cigarettes raised from 16 to 18

2008: Cigarette companies told to feature pictorial health warnings on packets

2010: Government announces it will enforce tobacco display ban and consider plain packaging for tobacco products

2015: Smoking in cars with children banned in England and ban on the display of tobacco in small shops comes into force throughout the UK

2017: Government issues target to reduce smoking prevalence among adults to 12 per cent or less by 2022

2019: Department of Health publishes plans to make England smoke-free by 2030

2020: Menthol cigarettes are banned in the UK and EU

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'Sensible MPs should take the opportunity of a free vote in Parliament and put a stop to his vanity project.'

Maxwell Marlow, director of research at thinktank the Adam Smith Institute, added: 'New Zealand's world-first smoking ban should have only ever been the world's last smoking ban at most.

'It should come as no surprise that it's been repealed altogether.

'Completely aside from the infringement on our liberties that the UK's proposed generational ban represents, it is far more likely to increase, rather than reduce, public health harms, by driving smokers into the arms of criminals operating in the black market and their potentially far more dangerous products.

'New Zealand's Conservative government realised the errors of this approach; we must hope that it's only a matter of time before our own does the same.'

Mr Sunak announced his bold plan to wipe out smoking in England at the Tory party conference in September last year.

His proposal mirrored the Kiwis', a progressive raising on the legal age of purchase for tobacco products, so that person born after 2009, about 14 today, would never be able to legally buy cigarettes.

The Government announcement that followed boasted how this would essentially eradicate smoking in young people in England

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