cigarette on ledge

Nearly two-thirds of Londoners support smoke-free generation plans

National survey results show that 64% of people in London support plans to raise the age of sale of tobacco products and create a smoke-free generation.

A new YouGov poll for Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) showed that English adults, 413 from London, agree with the Prime Minister’s stance on creating a smoke-free generation.

Rishi Sunak pledged to create a smoke-free generation at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, adding new restrictions to tobacco product sales.

Alice Wiseman, Policy Lead for Addiction for the Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH), said: “The fact that two-thirds of people in England also support raising the age of sale is a clear sign that the proposed legislation must be made a reality so that we can give the next generation more freedom to live healthier – and longer – lives.”

The proposed legislation aims to raise the age of the sale of tobacco products by one year, every year in England and Wales.

For those born on or after 1 January 2009, this means that they will never be able to legally purchase tobacco products in England and Wales.

The Government plans to curb this among young people by restricting retailers from selling harmful smoking products to children.

Retailers will be required to request proof of age from those buying tobacco. This sentiment is supported by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH).

ASH is a UK-based public health charity set up by the Royal College of Physicians to tackle and end the harm caused by tobacco.

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH, said: “This is not a party-political issue in the UK, successive governments, backed by strong public and parliamentary support, have passed increasingly stringent tobacco regulations aimed at bringing the smoking epidemic to an end.

“The passing of the smoke-free generation legislation promised in the King’s speech, backed by increased investment to help adult smokers quit, can put us in pole position to achieve a smoke-free future.”

The poll results mark the end of the UK-wide government consultation to stop the start of new smokers, covering tougher regulations to tackle young people vaping.

Vaping was initially intended to combat the smoking of cigarettes after scientists and doctors realised the negative health implications of vaping.

According to figures from the ASH-Youth 2022 survey, 8.6% of young people between the age of 11-18 use vapes.

In adults, the figures show a 1.7% rise in vaping compared to a decade ago. Instead of posing a healthier alternative to smoking, vaping is just replacing cigarettes.

Tracy Parr, Programme Director of London Tobacco Alliance and Stop Smoking London, said: “It is particularly heartening to see such strong backing—64%—for raising the age of sale, a move that could significantly reduce the initiation of smoking among the younger generation.”

ASH is taking a step further, calling for more measures to regulate smoking products. This includes putting vapes behind the counter, banning brand imagery on vapes, and making vapes subject to duty.

The charity believes that these measures will reduce the affordability, accessibility, and appeal that vapes have to children.

They would also like to ensure that e-cigarettes remain available as a less harmful alternative to the smoking of cigarettes.

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