Spread the love

Faith Nyasuguta

The British government’s landmark smoking ban proposal, spearheaded by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, has advanced in Parliament despite dissent within the Conservative Party.

Sunak’s bill, aiming to create a “smoke-free generation,” received parliamentary approval, marking a significant step towards tougher anti-smoking measures. Sunak emphasized the urgency of the legislation, stating, “We are committed to creating a society where young people are protected from the harms of smoking.”

The proposed legislation, part of Sunak’s broader health agenda, prohibits the sale of tobacco products to individuals born after January 1, 2009. This move positions Britain at the forefront of global anti-smoking initiatives, with officials heralding it as a crucial step towards a smoke-free future.

According to Sunak, the bill reflects the government’s commitment to prioritizing public health and safeguarding future generations. He stated, “We cannot afford to wait any longer to address the devastating impact of smoking on our society.”

Rishi Sunak delivers his keynote speech on the closing day of the UK Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, UK, on Oct. 4 /Hollie Adams/

Under the Tobacco and Vapes Bill, the legal age for purchasing cigarettes in England will incrementally rise each year until it becomes illegal for the entire population. Additionally, measures to curb youth vaping, such as banning disposable vapes and restricting flavors, are included in the legislation.

While the bill garnered widespread support from health experts and the opposition Labour Party, it faced criticism from within Sunak’s own party. Libertarian-minded Conservative members voiced concerns about the infringement of personal freedoms. Despite opposition, Sunak remained resolute, asserting, “Our priority is the health and well-being of our citizens, especially our youth.”

Prominent voices within the Conservative Party, including former Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, expressed reservations about the proposed measures. Truss characterized the bill as “virtue-signaling,” arguing that it undermines conservative principles by encroaching on individual liberties.

Opponents, such as the smokers’ rights advocacy group FOREST, raised concerns about the potential for a burgeoning black market and criticized the paternalistic approach of the legislation. In response, Sunak reiterated the government’s commitment to protecting public health, stating, “We cannot afford to ignore the mounting evidence of the harmful effects of smoking.”

Despite drawing inspiration from similar policies in New Zealand, where former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern championed anti-smoking initiatives, the bill encountered resistance. However, Sunak remained undeterred, emphasizing the urgency of addressing smoking-related health issues.


The passage of the bill marks a significant milestone in public health policy, signaling the government’s determination to tackle smoking-related harms. Sunak emphasized the need for collective action, stating, “Together, we can create a healthier, smoke-free future for all.


About Author

Faith Nyasuguta

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *