At this year’s Conservative Party conference on the 4th of October, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced his plan to phase out tobacco smoking in England. This is planned to be done by prohibiting the next generation and younger from ever being allowed to legally purchase tobacco. In more detail this means that this law if passed by parliament will apply to anyone who is 14 years old or younger today, as the age limit for purchasing tobacco in the future will rise by one year every year. The age limit would start rising from 2027. This oppressive policy would not have been put forward by the previous Conservative Prime Ministers: Boris Johnson who branded it as “barmy” and unworkable, and Liz Trust who branded it as “hideously illiberal and anti-conservative”. The Welsh government has said it plans to copy this prohibition model, while the Scottish government has its own plan to make Scotland tobacco-free by 2034. It is not known yet whether Northern Ireland plans to follow this agenda or not. Unfortunately, it is likely this will be passed into law by British parliament as probably nearly all the Labour Party and Liberal Democrat Party MPs will vote for it as well as some of the Conservative MPs.
More recently in New Zealand, this partial prohibition model that was announced to be pioneered last year by former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of the Labour Party has been scrapped by the new government formed of the centre-right National Party. It is now the largest party in New Zealand’s parliament and led by Christopher Luxon. This will leave England and possibly other parts of the United Kingdom alone with this model of prohibition.
This planed Prohibition model for England is wrong on many levels. It means that the next generation of adults in the future could be treated like children for the foreseeable future. They would be old enough to marry, drink alcohol and even risk their lives serving in the military but not purchase a pack of cigarettes.
Though smoking tobacco has its dangers the risk can vary on how much is consumed. The way forward is not to ban tobacco smoking but for research and development on a tobacco leaf that has all the harmful chemicals removed before being sold.
If this partial prohibition law gets given the green light by the British parliament there could be further consequences. The next generation may turn to the black market and be sold counterfeit cigarettes which are extremely harmful. As for the older generation. Where will they be able to purchase their tobacco? Where will they be able to smoke their tobacco? Also, would the older generation be always allowed to purchase their own tobacco in future?