Labour' wants to ban smoking COMPLETELY if it wins the next election
Labour frontbencher Wes Streeting admits the party wants to ban smoking COMPLETELY in the same way as New Zealand if it wins the next election
- Shadow health secretary following the example of New Zealand was ‘desirable’
- Kiwis banned the sale of cigarettes to anyone born after 2008 last December
Labour wants to completely ban smoking if it wins the next election, a frontbencher confirmed today.
Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said that following the example of New Zealand was ‘desirable’ and that there was a public ‘appetite’ to act.
The Kiwis banned the sale of cigarettes to anyone born after 2008 in a landmark attempt to eradicate smoking that will see fewer and fewer people every year allowed to light up.
The legislation, which passed last December, also slashed the number of outlets able to sell cigarettes and cut nicotine in cigarettes to non-addictive levels.
Quizzed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Streeting said he was keen to adopt a plan that was workable if Labour won the next election.
‘The question for me on the New Zealand-style smoking ban isn’t whether it’s desirable, because I think in policy terms, and in terms of public opinion, interestingly, I think there is an appetite and a policy driver there to do it,’ he said.
Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting (right, centre) said that following the example of New Zealand was ‘desirable’ and that there was a public ‘appetite’ to act.
New Zealand banned the sale of cigarettes to anyone born after 2008 in a landmark attempt to eradicate smoking last December that will see fewer and fewer people every year allowed to light up legally.
‘In practice, is it going to work? Because it would be a great headline, and certainly a great signal of intent from the Labour Party.
‘But as with everything else, not just in terms of money, but whether we can actually deliver in practice, we are stress testing all of the potential policies we might put in our manifesto against how much would it cost, can we pay for it, and then can we deliver it, is it going to work?’
Labour unveiled a consultation on a ban in January after the New Zealand move, which has the aim of seeing fewer than five per cent of adults regularly smoking by 2025.
Ministers have previously set an objective for England to be smoke-free by 2030.
An independent review by Dr Javed Khan, ordered by former health secretary Sajid Javid, was published in August and recommended a series of actions to help eradicate smoking in England.
Dr Khan warned, without further action, England will miss the 2030 target by at least seven years, and the poorest areas in society will not meet it until 2044.
Smoking rates in the UK have fallen from about half of the population in the 1970s to around just 15 per cent now.
But use was found to have increased by 25 per cent among the under-30s in England during the Covid pandemic, the equivalent of more than 600,000 new smokers.
According to estimates by the Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) charity, the annual costs to the NHS of treating illnesses associated with smoking is £2.4 billion.
They have also estimated further billions of pounds’ worth of costs to social care and wider society.
The Office for Budget Responsibility estimates that tobacco duties will raise £10.7billion in 2022-23.
Smoking has steadily decreased since 1974, with around 15 per cent of the UK population smoking in 2019
How have UK laws changed on smoking?
1965 – Cigarette adverts are banned on TV
1971 – Tobacco industry voluntarily agrees to include health warnings on cigarette packs
1974 – Government asks the tobacco industry to allocate some of its advertising budget to health education
1981 – Cigarette taxation increased by 14p on a packet of 20
1984 – Smoking is banned on London Underground trains
1990 – Government introduces larger health warnings for tobacco packaging, in line with EC requirements
1991 – New laws tighten up restrictions on sale of cigarettes to children under 16
1998 – EU directive to ban tobacco advertising and sponsorship is adopted
2002 – Laws to ban tobacco advertising are passed by Parliament
2006 – Scotland bans smoking in nearly all workplaces and enclosed public places, including pubs and clubs
2007 – Smoking ban in England comes into force, while legal age for purchasing tobacco is raised from 16 to 18
2012 – Tobacco is banned from display in large stores
2014 – Buying cigarettes for anyone under 18 is made an offence, while the Government gets new powers to introduce standardised packaging
2015 – Ban on displaying tobacco in small shops comes into force, while MPs vote in favour of a ban on smoking in cars with children
2019 – Government makes commitment for England to be smoke-free by 2030
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