A life time Smoking ban for the under fourteens.
Doctors in the UK are to vote on whether to push the government to bring in a permanent ban on the sale of cigarettes to anyone born after the year 2000. This is a bold approach which attempts to protect the next generation of children from the lethal effects of tobacco smoking. If this motion is passed at the British Medical Association’s annual representatives’ meeting on Tuesday, the BMA will lobby the government to take action and implement the policy in the same way it very successfully pushed for a ban on lighting up in public places and on smoking in cars carrying children, after votes in 2002 and 2011. A specialist registrar in public health medicine Tim Crocker-Buque, who proposed the motion, said that the idea was “the 21st-century generation don’t need to suffer the hundreds of millions of deaths that the 20th-century generation did”. He added “Cigarette smoking is specifically a choice made by children that results in addiction in adulthood, that is extremely difficult to give up,” he said. “80% of people who smoke start as teenagers. It is very rare for people to make an informed decision in adulthood. The idea of this proposal is to prevent those children who are not smoking from taking up smoking. 23% of pupils in England aged 11 to 15 had tried smoking at least once in 2012 according to official figures, although the figure has been decreasing since 1996, when it was 46%. A survey of current smokers or those who smoked regularly at some point in their life revealed that 66% had started smoking before they were 18. The legally age to buy cigarettes rose from 16 to 18 in 2007.
This Proposal Could Save Thousands of Lives.
Cancer Research UK’s tobacco policy manager, George Butterworth, said it was vital that steps to reduce the 100,000 lives a year lost to smoking should continue. He described the proposal as an interesting idea. “There are more than 10 million smokers in the UK, and it’s just not practical to ban smoking. But we do want to encourage and support smokers to quit, and to do all we can to stop children from starting in the first place.” In Tasmania, Australia in 2012, the upper house of the government passed a ban on selling cigarettes to anyone born after 2000 but it has not yet been passed by the lower house. Similar proposals have also been put forward in Singapore. Here in the UK Simon Clark, the director of the smokers’ group Forest, argued that criminals would simply take over the supply of cigarettes to people who could not buy them legally.
Opposition From Pro-Smokers and Interested Parties.
“We already have legislation designed to stop children smoking. Enforce those laws and ban proxy purchasing,” he said. “The idea that free-thinking adults could be barred from buying cigarettes because of the year in which they’re born is both preposterous and discriminatory. It’s arbitrary, unenforceable and completely illiberal.” A representative of the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association described the proposal as “a poorly thought-through tobacco control measure described the proposal. The BMA should reject this nonsensical measure and instead focus on measures likely to reduce young people’s access to tobacco.”