Rishi Sunak’s Proposal to Raise Legal Smoking Age Faces Criticism

Rishi Sunak’s Proposal to Raise Legal Smoking Age Faces Criticism

Rishi Sunak’s Stand on Smoking

Rishi Sunak has revealed that he has never smoked a cigarette, but he asserts that this fact is of “no relevance” to his proposal to annually increase the legal smoking age.

The Conservative Prime Minister defended this announcement against criticism, which argues that such a policy contradicts “Thatcherite principles.”

A Bold Policy Announcement

During his Tory Party conference speech, Mr. Sunak outlined his plans to introduce a new law in England.

This law would prevent children who turn 14 in the current year or younger from ever legally purchasing cigarettes or tobacco.

Mixed Reactions

The proposed law was hailed by health campaigners as a critical step towards creating a smoke-free generation.

However, the pro-smoking group Forest expressed opposition, labeling it as “creeping prohibition.”

Protecting the Youth

When questioned on LBC, Mr. Sunak, who is also teetotal, emphasized that he has never smoked and stated, “No, and it has absolutely no relevance to anything.

The issue here is about protecting our kids.”

He stressed that the primary goal is to prevent children from taking up smoking, citing the alarming statistics that link smoking to death, disability, and illness in the UK, including one in four cancer cases and 64,000 annual deaths.

A Matter of Conscience in Parliament

The Prime Minister has indicated that a “free vote” will be presented to Parliament regarding this proposal, and he views it as a “matter of conscience” for MPs.

The Labour party has expressed support for the law, stating that they “will not play politics with public health” and will offer their support to Mr. Sunak in passing the legislation.

Boris Johnson’s Critique

Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Boris Johnson voiced his criticism in his Daily Mail column, denouncing the move as “barmy.”

He questioned the allocation of police resources to enforce a nationwide smoking ban, diverting their attention from other pressing issues like knife crime, sexual violence, and drug gangs involved in county lines operations.

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