Shocking Ban Passed in Overwhelming 383 to 67 Vote

( – According to the World Health Organization, tobacco kills over eight million people around the globe every year — and they’re not all smokers. About 1.3 million of those individuals are victims of second-hand smoke from those who light up. In 2022, the number of smokers in the United Kingdom was on the low side at just 14.2% of the population, versus the United States, which clocked in at 24.3%. While the UK didn’t have bad numbers when compared to the rest of the world, the country’s parliament didn’t think it was low enough.

What Happened?

Recently, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pushed the Tobacco and Vapes Bill through the government, which bans smoking for any person born after 2009. The measure passed the House of Commons enthusiastically, with a vote of 383 to 67 in favor of the bill becoming law. The PM aims to create a smoke-free generation, saving lives and euros for the National Health Service (NHS). The government stated that smoking costs the UK about EUR 17 billion every year and is the biggest killer of its citizens. It noted that most smokers start the habit before they turn 20, and most continue for the rest of their lives. This bill will prevent anyone turning 15 this year and younger from legally buying tobacco, thereby hopefully nipping the habit in the bud before it has a chance to start.

However, anyone who can now buy tobacco products in the United Kingdom can continue to do so. The aim is to forge healthier habits for the current generation and those that follow. Sunak said the government simply wants to “build a better future for [their] children.”

The bill allows law enforcement officers to fine offenders “on the spot” and makes it illegal to give free vaping samples to anyone under 18. The UK government wants to go further with its steps against vapes, in particular, proposing a ban on the disposable variety by this time next year.

Reactions to the New Measure

Health and Social Care Secretary Victoria Atkins called the step a “significant milestone” in helping future generations live “healthier lives.” At the same time, the secretary said the legislation also allows the NHS to concentrate on other issues by “removing the huge pressure” brought on by dealing with “smoking-related illness[es].”

But not all reactions were positive. Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the ban “just mad.” Ex-Prime Minister Liz Truss agreed with Johnson, stating that the idea of trying to “protect adults from themselves is hugely problematic.”

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