Most Brits back banning sale of cigarettes to those born after 2008

Majority of Britons would support law banning sale of cigarettes or tobacco to anyone born after 2008, YouGov survey reveals

  • Fifty-seven per cent of British people would support the ban for younger people 
  • Results come after New Zealand’s new law for those born on and after 2009
  • The UK Government has set out a plan to make England smoke-free by 2030

Most Brits would back a ban on the sale of cigarettes or tobacco to anyone born after 2008, a YouGov survey has revealed.

Fifty-seven per cent of British people would support the legislation to bar younger generations from purchasing smoking-related products, while 34 per cent said they would ‘strongly’ support it.

The results come after New Zealand introduced this very legislation for people born on and after 2009, meaning that they will never legally be able to smoke.

Its new radical new law will also see the minimum age for purchasing cigarettes going up in an effort to make the country cigarette-free by 2025.

New Zealand has made it illegal to ever sell cigarettes to people born in 2009 or later — those who are currently aged 13 and under — in the hopes of creating a generation of non-smokers (file image) 

So, in theory, someone trying to buy a packet of cigarettes 50 years from now would need ID to prove that they were at least 63 years old. 

The UK has seen a similar set of anti-smoking bans implemented over the last 20 years and a plan set out in 2019 to make England smoke-free by 2030.

Indoor smoking was outlawed in almost all enclosed public spaces during 2006 in Scotland, and the rest of the UK followed this in 2007.

Health warnings on cigarette packets were also enforced in 2008 and seven years later smoking in the presence of children in cars was banned in England. 

More recent advancements have included plans from Sajid Javid to cut the number of smokers by rising the legal age to 21.

Just one in eight adults in Britain were frequent users in 2021, down by five per cent on last year, according to the Office for National Statistics’ Annual Population Survey (blue line). Meanwhile, 4million over-16s now use e-cigarettes — up by a fifth in just 12 months (red line)

 Earlier this year a spokesman for the UK Government’s Department of Health said that tackling smoking issues was a ‘priority’ for the office

Yet, in 2020, Cancer Research UK forecasted that it will be at least 2037 before the Government’s pledged smoking-free target is met.

In 2021, one in eight adult Brits were frequent smokers or vapers according to the Office for National Statistics’ Annual Population Survey.

Cancer Research UK said that rates would need to drop 40 per cent faster than they are currently for the target to be hit. 

And even then, ‘smoke-free’ was measured as just fiver per cent of adults smoking as opposed to a total eradication of the habit. 

But earlier this year, a Government Department of Health spokesman said: ‘Tackling issues such as smoking is a priority for the office for health improvement and disparities, and a key part of the government’s levelling up agenda.’ 


2004: Ireland bans smoking in enclosed public places, including pubs, clubs and restaurants 

2006: Scotland implements smoking ban on indoor public spaces

2007: England, Wales and Northern Ireland bring in indoor ban. In England, smoking is banned in almost all enclosed public spaces and the NHS goes smoke-free. Legal age to buy cigarettes raised from 16 to 18

2008: Cigarette companies told to feature pictorial health warnings on packets

2010: Government announces it will enforce tobacco display ban and consider plain packaging for tobacco products

2015: Smoking in cars with children banned in England and ban on the display of tobacco in small shops comes into force throughout the UK

2017: Government issues target to reduce smoking prevalence among adults to 12 per cent or less by 2022

2019: Department of Health publishes plans to make England smoke-free by 2030

2020: Menthol cigarettes are banned in the UK and EU

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