OPINION - Talking Point: Should the smoking age be raised each year?

·1-min read
The Government has aims for England to be smoke-free by 2030  (Getty Images)
The Government has aims for England to be smoke-free by 2030 (Getty Images)

A new review sets out a number of measures, having highlighted that England is not on course to meet the Government’s aim of being “smoke-free” by 2030, whereby less than 5% of any community smokes.

The idea of continuously raising the minimum age is similar to laws already on their way into New Zealand. Phasing out smoking one generation at a time would eventually lead to a society in which nobody has been legally able to purchase cigarettes in the country in their lifetime.

The report was led by Dr Javed Khan, former chief executive of children’s charity Barnardo’s, who said that smoking should be obsolete for a multitude of reasons, “whether in population health, social or economic benefits”.

Professor Sir Chris Whitty, England’s Chief Medical Officer, said in the report: “The tobacco industry makes its massive profits from getting young people addicted to smoking, something that will kill or severely disable many of them.”

The economic benefits of making smoking obsolete in England would amount to lifting “around 2.6 million adults and one million children out of poverty”, according to Dr Khan.

However, in response to the report, Simon Clark, director of the smokers’ group Forest, warned that prohibition of cigarettes wouldn’t work: “It will simply drive the sale of tobacco underground and consumers will buy cigarettes on the black market where no-one pays tax and products are completely unregulated.”

Should the smoking age be raised each year? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below for the chance to be featured on the ES website tomorrow.

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