Rishi Sunak Proposes Gradual Increase in Smoking Age with Focus on Vaping Restrictions

Rishi Sunak’s Proposal to Raise Smoking Age Yearly

Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has put forth a bold proposal to incrementally raise the legal smoking age by one year each year.

This measure, if implemented, would result in a scenario where a 14-year-old today would never legally be able to purchase cigarettes.

Prime Minister’s Endorsement of the Initiative

The Prime Minister officially endorsed this proposal during his address to Members of Parliament at the Conservative party conference held on Wednesday.

He emphasized that such a policy change would have long-term benefits by relieving pressure on the National Health Service (NHS).

Clarification from Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak clarified that this initiative is not an attempt to deprive current smokers of their rights but rather a strategy to enable the next generation to “grow up smoke-free.”

He also noted that there will be no mandatory party whip for a vote on this measure, acknowledging potential dissent from fellow Conservative MPs.

Stricter Regulations on Vaping

In addition to the smoking age proposal, Mr. Sunak announced plans to introduce stricter regulations on vaping, particularly concerning “flavours, packaging, point-of-sale displays, and disposable vapes.”

This move comes in response to rising concerns about the increasing use of disposable vapes among young people, despite recent government bans.

Concerns and Reactions

The proposal has garnered mixed reactions, with health policy leaders welcoming the idea while urging the government to take even more extensive steps in implementing tobacco control measures.

Some experts argue that the government should adopt similar strategies for other health risk factors such as alcohol and junk food.

Opposition and Concerns about Implementation

Critics, like Christopher Snowdon of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), have expressed concerns that such a policy could create a two-tier society and potentially breach equalities legislation.

They also worry about the impact on the retail sector and the potential need for a national ID card system to enforce it.

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