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UK aims to implement 'lifetime ban' on purchasing cigarettes

UK aims to implement 'lifetime ban' on purchasing cigarettes

Posted April. 18, 2024 07:49,   

Updated April. 18, 2024 07:49


In the UK, a bill banning individuals born in 2009 from purchasing cigarettes for life starting in 2027 when they reach 18 has passed the initial stage in parliament. The Rishi Sunak administration's initiative to transition Britain into a 'smoke-free society' has faced opposition from the ruling Conservative Party, which argues it "encroaches on individual freedoms," sparking debate over its potential implementation.

During Tuesday's first vote on the ‘Tobacco and Electronic Cigarettes Bill,’ the British House of Commons advanced the bill to the next review stage with 383 votes in favor and 67 against out of 650 seats. The bill proposes a lifelong prohibition on selling cigarettes and e-cigarettes to individuals born on January 1, 2009, and future generations, exempting current adult smokers.

Presently, smoking-related diseases claim 80,000 lives annually in the U.K., with associated health and social service costs totaling 3 billion pounds (approximately 5.1 trillion won). The Sunak administration aims to save thousands of lives with this legislation.

However, dissent within the Conservative Party is significant, with critics arguing that excessive smoking regulations impinge on personal liberties. "People should have the autonomy to decide what they enjoy," Former Prime Minister Liz Truss remarked. “Our nation might become a 'nanny state' overreach, akin to excessive state intervention.” In Tuesday's vote, nearly half of Conservative Party members, 163 in total, either voted against or abstained.

Given this internal dissent, the bill may face challenges in reaching a final vote in both chambers of parliament. Moreover, the Sunak government may alter the age threshold for lifelong cigarette purchase restrictions.

김윤진 기자 kyj@donga.com