November 11, 2023
The Department of Health and Social Care said it has received over 12,000 responses received as part of the government’s consultation on plans to create a smokefree generation and crack down on youth vaping.
Delivering his first speech as monarch at the state opening of Parliament on 7 November, King Charles announced the introduction of the ‘tobacco and vapes bill’.
“My government will introduce legislation to create a smoke-free generation by restricting the sale of tobacco so that children currently aged 14 or younger can never be sold cigarettes, and restricting the sale and marketing of e-cigarettes to children,” he said.
If the bill is passed, the sale of tobacco products to anyone born on or after 1 January 2009 would become an offence in the country.
The prime minister recently announced plans to introduce a new law to stop children who turn 14 this year and younger from ever legally being sold cigarettes in England. He also set out the government’s concerns about the worrying rise in vaping among children and announced a public consultation on plans to reduce the appeal and availability of vapes to children.
Bolstering efforts to phase out smoking, the government has on Wednesday also announced final allocations from £70 million a year for local authorities in England.
It will be ring-fenced specifically for stop smoking services and the local allocations have been calculated to ensure local authorities with the highest smoking rates receive additional weighted funding.
Alongside the final funding allocations, the government has issued guidance to local authorities – in partnership with the Local Government Association.
The guidance highlights how this funding should be used to build capacity in local areas to help more people quit, link smokers to the most effective interventions and also support existing support schemes like Swap to Stop.
The Swap to Stop scheme is the first of its kind in the world and offers a million smokers across England a free vaping starter kit.
“The response to the consultation shows people care strongly about this issue. If passed, the bill will help ensure the next generation is smoke free and the additional funding will help current smokers stop, preventing major future harm,” Sir Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, said.
The live public consultation – which closes on 6 December – also details proposals to prevent underage and illicit sales of tobacco and vapes, with plans to introduce on-the-spot fines for underage sales. The consultation is open to anyone, of any age, in the UK to share their experiences and opinions and help shape future policy on vaping and smoking.
Earlier this year, the prime minister also announced £30 million to further support agencies such as local trading standards, HMRC and Border Force to take action to stop underage sales and tackle the import of illicit tobacco and vaping products at the border.