Bill To Phase Out Smoking Advances In UK Parliament


Bill to phase out smoking advances in UK parliament

London, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 17th Apr, 2024) A contentious bill that aims to eventually phase out smoking in Britain advanced in parliament on Tuesday, as the House of Commons voted in favour of the controversial measure.

The bill would ban the selling of tobacco products to anyone born after January 1, 2009 -- effectively raising the smoking age by a year each year until it applies to the whole population.

The UK parliament kicked off debate on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's planned flagship legislation on Tuesday, despite opposition from many in his own Conservative Party.

"This has the potential to phase out smoking in young people almost completely as early as 2040," the government said when it unveiled the plan, calling the move "historic".

In the first vote of the bill, 383 MPs voted in favour with 67 voting against.

The bill will need to be adopted by the House of Lords to become law.

Among those who opposed the bill were nearly 60 Conservative MPs -- including business secretary Kemi Badenoch and other senior secretaries of state.

Conservative MPs were given a free vote, meaning they were able to defy the government without fear of being suspended from the party.

Smoking is the UK's biggest preventable killer and opinion polls show that around two-thirds of people in the UK back a phased smoking ban.

However, libertarian-leaning MPs on the right of the ruling Conservatives, including former prime minister Liz Truss, have branded the move an attack on personal freedoms.

Conservative MP Simon Clarke told BBC radio that he was "both sceptical and downright opposed" to the plans.

"I think that an outright ban risks being counterproductive, I think it actually risks making smoking cooler, it certainly risks creating a black market, and it also risks creating an unmanageable challenge for the authorities," he said.

Former prime minister Boris Johnson also said at an event in Canada last week it was "mad" that the party of Winston Churchill was "banning cigars".