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MPs Recommend That Legal Smoking Age Be Raised From 18 To 21

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MPs Recommend That Legal Smoking Age Be Raised From 18 To 21

A cross-party group of MPs have called for the age at which people can buy cigarettes to be raised from 18 to 21 in a bid to end the 'tobacco epidemic' by 2030.

The All Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health has said that the legal age at which tobacco products can be bought should be raised, in order to crack down on children and young people smoking - and to aid those who currently smoke to quit.

The MPs also want tobacco companies to pay for it, and have announced that they'll pursue a 'polluter pays' amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill in order to ensure this.

The group has also demanded that efforts and funds aimed at reducing levels of smoking be targeted to areas where smoking causes the most harm and damage.

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Groups such as the unemployed, those working routine and manual jobs, those who are pregnant, and those with mental health conditions are among the groups they believe should receive more funding and support to become smoke-free.

These recommendations are backed by both health charities and medical organisations.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

MPs from across the house have argued that the government's commitment to 'build back better' after Covid-19 will be 'better and fairer' if it makes smoking a thing of the past.

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Bob Blackman, the head of the group, said: "Our report sets out measures which will put us on track to achieve the government's ambition to end smoking by 2030, but they can't be delivered without funding.

"Tobacco manufacturers make extreme profits selling highly addictive, lethal products, while government coffers are bare because of Covid-19.

"The manufacturers have the money, they should be made to pay to end the epidemic."

The report also claims that most people would be in favour of these rules, stating that 76 percent of the population support the Smokefree 2030 initiative.

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Seventy-seven percent would gladly see a monetary fee or levy placed on tobacco manufacturers to fund measures which would get people to stop - or not to start - smoking.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Deborah Arnott, from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) said that the 'time has now come' for the government's pledge to be delivered on.

She told Sky News: "Currently smoking rates are not declining nearly fast enough.

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"If, as called for by the APPG, the recommendations in its report are implemented by 2022, we can get on track to make smoking obsolete by 2030."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: UK News, Smoking, Politics, Health

Tom Wood
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