Britons WANT under-21s to be banned from smoking, poll reveals
- Britons also also think tobacco sales should be restricted near schools
- Similar new tobacco policies have recently been floated in the UK
- Around 6.9million adults in the UK smoke tobacco cigarettes, dats suggests
Britons want under-21s to be banned from buying cigarettes, a study claims.
They also also think tobacco sales should be restricted near schools.
Around 6.9million adults in the UK smoke cigarettes, and roughly 200,000 children are thought to start smoking each year.
Cigarettes contain thousands of harmful chemicals, with smoking the largest known preventable cause of cancer.
The addictive habit also raises the risk of heart disease and stroke, two of Britain’s biggest killers.
Similar radical policies have recently been floated in the UK, prompted by targets to become ‘smoke-free’ by 2030.
One ‘nanny-state’ proposal even included making it illegal for today’s children to ever buy cigarettes.
People in Britain strongly believe that tobacco sales should be restricted near schools [stock image]
Ministers are expected to reject the policy set out in a Government-commissioned report earlier this summer, however.
Another proposal was to ban cigarettes in beer gardens, restaurants, outdoor dining, club smoking areas and even beaches.
Scientists from University College London have now gathered the public consensus on such policies to curb the use and sale of tobacco, through surveys carried out in September 2021.
They asked 2,197 people living across England, Scotland and Wales what they thought about potential policies to restrict tobacco sale and usage.
Half the participants thought the legal age for smoking should be raised to 21, although a third of people disagreed.
The large majority — roughly 70 per cent — of people were also in favour of limiting tobacco availability around schools.
‘Those clear majorities are a call out to governments that further policies to restrict tobacco sales will be well supported,’ said Dr Loren Kock, an author of the study in Tobacco Control.
‘Previous policies like the tobacco tax and banning smoking in parks are behind the current trend of a decline in smoking.
‘Further policies would likely help the UK government reach its goal of 5 per cent of people smoking at 2030.’
Currently, 8 per cent of people in the UK are projected to smoke in 2030.
The apparent widespread support for further action could mean Britain will follow in the footsteps of New Zealand which, in July this year, became the first country in the world to introduce laws that will steadily hike up the age limit for purchasing cigarettes every year.
The policies mean that people who were 14 and under when the laws took effect will never be able to buy tobacco legally.
Around 6million people smoke in the UK and it is behind 64,000 deaths every year. The NHS spends £2.4billion every year treating smoking-related conditions.
The minimum age for tobacco purchases was raised from 16 to 18 across Britain in 2007, when it also became illegal to smoke in enclosed spaces.
Officials followed up the measures in 2017 with a policy that meant all branded packaging had to be replaced with plain greenish-brown boxes.