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Victory Against the UK’s Generational Smoking Ban

In a remarkable turn of events, the UK government’s proposed generational prohibition on smoking and certain vaping products has been thwarted. The bill, which aimed to prohibit adults born on or after January 1, 2009, from ever purchasing tobacco products legally, faced opposition from the CCC and a united front of consumers and advocates for personal freedom.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s proposal intended to introduce an arbitrary age restriction, risking a society where individuals born just days apart could have vastly different legal rights regarding tobacco use. Additionally, restrictions on vape flavours threatened the progress made in reducing smoking rates and the UK’s effort in reaching a smoke-free target by 2030. The CCC argued these measures were more about control and scoring political points, which would have placed children and future generations at greater harm and vulnerable consumers unprotected in the black market.

The CCC launched a vigorous campaign, gathering signatures in opposition. We encouraged consumers to contact their MPs directly, providing clear data and talking points. Policy wise, the CCC engaged with MPs, drafted amendments, submitted evidence to consultations and committees, highlighting inconsistencies with the government’s impact assessments economically and the harm that these measures inflict on consumers.

These combined efforts led to the bill not being selected to be nodded through, in the wake of the Prime Minister announcing a general election. In the process, MPs recognised the flaws and public opposition, demonstrating the power of collective action in preserving individual freedoms. The CCC will oppose these measures if they were to be introduced again by the new government. 

The UK’s success in tobacco harm reduction continues for now. The CCC remains vigilant, committed to defending consumer rights, protecting their health and interests, and ensuring future laws respect personal freedoms.

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