Smoke-free Generation: Smoking Age Rises From 18 To 21

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by Elaa Abdeltawab

Posted on March 5, 2019

Smoke-free Generation: Smoking Age Rises From 18 To 21

The legal age to purchase cigarettes in the United Kingdom will rise from 18 to 21 years. This measure could be introduced in an attempt to improve public health and create a smoke-free generation.

The new measure, which was put forward by MPs, will levy higher taxes on tobacco companies for their impact on the society; this could raise around £150 million. These taxes will be used to fund educational campaigns to prevent youths from smoking and encouraging others to quit. Also, the amount of smoking displayed in TV shows and films has to be limited according to the Members of Parliament. Moreover, the MPs are planning on banning unlicensed retailers to sell tobacco.

The British Lung Foundation welcomed the recommended measure. Chief executive Penny Woods stated the following: "The recommendations will also protect children by funding enforcement against underage sales and help tackle the trade in illicit cigarettes. Rising the age from 18 to 21 will help stop ‘experimentation’ from becoming a fatal habit and reinforce the dangers of tobacco.

The next step is for the Government to show its commitment to achieving a smoke-free generation by adopting the full list of recommendations and turn them all into law."

The taxes on tobacco should be increased to 5% above inflation to stop people from smoking, according to the All Party Parliamentary Group. The APPG’s chairman, Bob Blackman, said: ‘’Smoking remains the leading cause of premature death and health inequalities. Ratcheting up tobacco regulation further and faster is essential to achieve the Government's vision for prevention, to increase healthy life expectancy by five years by 2035 while reducing inequalities between the richest and poorest in society."


Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, said ‘’Smoking rates need to be tackled if the government wants to make good on their plans to increase life expectancy by five by 2035.

In England, the Department of Health wants to reduce the prevalence of 15-year-olds who regularly smoke from 8% to 3% or less and reduce smoking among adults from 15.5% to 12% or less by the end of 2022.’’

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