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How a UK smoking ban would actually work as adults in their 30s could be ID'd

How a UK smoking ban would actually work as adults in their 30s could be ID'd

Rishi Sunak proposed the smoking age increase during his speech at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester yesterday

Rishi Sunak’s proposed smoking ban will mean that people in future will have to carry ID well into their later years if they want to buy cigarettes.

As the Prime Minister announced yesterday during his speech at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, the proposed legislation would see the legal age at which people can buy cigarettes increased every year by a year.

That means that if the law was to be changed by 2027, no one who is currently 14-years-old will ever be able to legally buy a cigarette.

Most people would agree that is a good thing, but what does it mean for those who are smokers currently?

Well, obviously the government – and loads of other organisations – would prefer that they quit altogether, but they can’t force people who can legally smoke now to stop.

However, in 15 years’ time people who are 18 now will be 33, and may still be made to prove their age if they want to buy cigarettes.

Anyone under a certain age will never be able to buy cigarettes legally under the proposed new rules.
Peter Dazeley/Getty

Basically, anyone born after around 2008 is likely to have to prove their birthdate to buy cigarettes for the rest of their life as the legal age continues to advance upwards.

Such a rule already exists in New Zealand, having come into force in recent times.

In that country, nobody born after January 1 2009 will ever be able to be legally sold cigarettes.

You’d have to imagine a similar date restriction will be set in the UK.

Labour has agreed to support the government’s plans, stating that the party has no intention to ‘play politics with public health’.

Announcing the plans, Sunak told the Tory conference in Manchester: "When we raised the smoking age to 18, smoking prevalence dropped by 30 percent in that age group.

"When the United States raised the age to 21, the smoking rate dropped by 39 percent in that age group.

“Smoking places huge pressures on the NHS and costs our country £17 billion a year.”

In a series of posts on X – formerly Twitter – following his speech, Sunak elaborated on the plans, writing: “In the UK smoking causes 1 in 4 cancer deaths.

“So I’m proposing changing the law so children turning 14 or younger this year can never legally be sold cigarettes in their lifetime.

“A smoke-free generation.

“None of us want our children to grow up to smoke.

“Smoking is the number one preventable cause of ill health causing 64,000 deaths a year in England."

The smoking age will rise by one year, every year, if the legislation gets through.
Irina Marwan/Getty

He continued: “It puts a huge burden on the NHS, and costs the country £17 billion a year.

“We know more than four in five smokers start before the age of 20. We need to stop the start.

“Meanwhile as any parent or teacher knows the rise in vaping among children is a worrying trend.

“So we’ll also bring forward measures to restrict the availability of vapes to our children.

“We'll look at flavours, packaging, point-of-sale displays as well as disposable vapes.

“We will not criminalise smoking - nor will anyone who can legally be sold cigarettes today be prevented from doing so in the future.

“But we have a chance to cut cancer deaths by a quarter and significantly ease huge pressures on the NHS.

“We should take it.”

Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Image

Topics: UK News, Health, Politics, Rishi Sunak