UK smoking ban for younger generations passes first parliamentary hurdle

The bill passed a vote in Britain’s parliament with 383 in favour and 67 against

By Reuters
April 17, 2024
This representational image shows smoke emanating from a cigarette. — Unsplash/File

LONDON: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s plan to ban anyone aged 15 and under from ever buying cigarettes passed its first parliamentary vote on Tuesday, although dozens of his own lawmakers voted against it.


Sunak’s plan to impose some of the world’s strictest anti-smoking rules has angered some members of his governing Conservative Party, including former prime ministers Liz Truss and Boris Johnson, who say the state should not interfere in how people live their lives.

The bill passed a vote in Britain’s parliament with 383 in favour and 67 against, meaning it will progress to the next stage in parliament, where it can be subject to amendment.

Lawmakers were given a so-called free vote on the bill, meaning they did not have to vote along party lines. A similar law in New Zealand was scrapped this year by the new coalition government before the legislation went into force.

But 57 Conservatives, including Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch, voted against the plan, and the scale of the rebellion was another blow for Sunak, who has already faced criticism in his party over issues ranging from climate change to defence policy. The legislation is one of Sunak’s flagship policies before an election later this year which opinion polls suggest the opposition Labour Party will win. —Reuters