UK should not copy New Zealand’s Nanny State Policies

London, October 3rd, 2023 — Fred Roeder, Managing Director of the Consumer Choice Center, strongly condemns the UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s recent proposal to introduce a generational ban on smoking, as reported by The Guardian. The ban, coupled with a blanket prohibition on disposable vapes, is a regressive step that threatens to fuel the black market and infringe upon the rights of adult smokers to make their own informed choices.

The UK has long been a champion of evidence-based policies, particularly in the realm of tobacco harm reduction. However, the proposed generational ban on cigarettes, combined with the ban on disposable vapes, marks a departure from this pragmatic approach. By depriving adults of their right to choose how they consume nicotine, these measures risk driving millions of consumers towards unregulated and unsafe alternatives, undermining public health objectives in the process.

Mr. Roeder emphasizes that the UK’s smoking rates have steadily declined thanks to a comprehensive strategy that embraces harm reduction policies. By promoting alternatives such as e-cigarettes and other reduced-risk products, the UK has successfully encouraged smokers to transition away from traditional combustible cigarettes. This approach has not only reduced the harm associated with smoking but has also respected adult consumers’ autonomy and personal responsibility.

The proposed generational ban on smoking and banning disposable vapes is not only a misguided policy but also a potential boon for the black market. Prohibition has historically shown that it drives the creation of illegal markets, leading to unregulated and dangerous products. This move risks undoing the progress made in reducing smoking rates and may even exacerbate the very issues it seeks to solve.

Mr. Roeder urges the UK government to reconsider its approach and instead focus on evidence-based policies that respect individual freedom and support harm reduction initiatives. The Consumer Choice Center calls on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the government to engage in meaningful dialogue with experts, stakeholders, and the public to develop policies that balance public health goals with individual liberties.



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