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Can Rishi Sunak create a smoke-free generation? – podcast | News

Can Rishi Sunak create a smoke-free generation? – podcast | News
Can Rishi Sunak create a smoke-free generation? – podcast | News

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Before 2007, going out on the town in the UK involved inhaling secondhand smoke – on trains, in restaurants, in clubs and in pubs. Even non-smokers would find that a stale tobacco scent could linger after an evening out. The ban on smoking indoors in public places changed things almost overnight.

Now with smoking rates among the population plummeting, the government is going a step further: it intends to ban the sale of tobacco to anyone born after 2009. To that age cohort onwards, the sale of cigarettes would be prohibited.

As Ben Quinn, the Guardian’s political correspondent, tells Helen Pidd, it’s a policy that has never been tried anywhere else in the world. New Zealand came close but ultimately has not enacted a similar ban. Critics have been lining up to denounce it as unworkable and illiberal.

The government admits it will lead to seeming absurdities whereby in future a 40-year-old would be barred from buying cigarettes but their 41-year-old partner would not be. But the public appears to support the bill – and with Labour and other opposition parties in support too it is almost certain to become law this year.

Photograph: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto/REX/Shutterstock

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