UK introduces tobacco and vaping bill to ban children from smoking

A bill, which is expected to pass, on new tobacco and vaping regulations has been introduced to UK Parliament.
UK tobacco vaping

A bill on new tobacco and vaping regulations has been introduced to UK Parliament. The bill, which is expected to pass, will block anyone born after 1 January 2009 from ever legally purchasing tobacco products.

The proposed law is part of UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s “commitment to create a smoke-free generation”.

It comes after a 2022 review on UK’s smoking policies recommended gradually increasing the age that people can legally buy cigarettes.


Sunak announced the plan in October last year to reduce the number of smoking-related health issues in the country.

The UK followed a similar proposal in New Zealand. It would have banned children born in, or after, 2009 from legally buying smoking products.

PM Christopher Luxon scrapped the ban after winning the country’s latest federal election last year.

Smoking in the UK

Under current UK law, you must be over 18 to buy cigarettes.

According to data cited by the government, four in five smokers begin before the age of 20.

It’s estimated that smoking-related health issues cost the UK’s health system £17 billion ($AU33b) a year.

Health Secretary Victoria Atkins said smoking kills around 80,000 people a year in the UK. Atkins said it “causes one in four cancer-related deaths”.

The bill

The sale of tobacco will be prohibited to children born in 2009 or later. The bill aims to prohibit younger generations in the UK from ever picking up tobacco or vaping habits.

It proposes £100 ($AU190) “on the spot fines” for anyone caught selling tobacco or vapes to children.

The bill will not make smoking illegal. Further, anyone who can purchase tobacco under the current laws will not be impacted.


The bill will also give the government power to restrict vape marketing that targets children. this includes restrictions on different flavours, colourful packaging, and visibility in shop displays.

Under separate environmental legislation, the government plans to ban disposable vapes in the UK from April next year.

Response to tobacco and vaping bill in the UK

When Sunak announced the plans last year, Labour Opposition health spokesperson Wes Streeting responded. Streeting said his party will “vote through the ban on selling cigarettes to kids, so that young people are even less likely to smoke”.

This means the bill will pass.

The British Heart Foundation’s Chief Executive Dr Charmaine Griffiths said the “landmark” bill will “ensure future generations don’t die early because of tobacco”.

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