Sunak says 14-year-olds will 'never be sold a cigarette' under plans to raise smoking age by one year, every year

4 October 2023, 12:43 | Updated: 4 October 2023, 13:30

Sunak has proposed a new smoking ban
Sunak has proposed a new smoking ban. Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Rishi Sunak has said 14-year-olds will "never legally be sold a cigarette" under plans to raise the smoking age by one year, every year.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

"When we raised the smoking age to 18, smoking prevalence dropped by 30% in that age group," Mr Sunak said.

"When the United States raised the age to 21, the smoking rate dropped by 39% in that age group.

"Smoking places huge pressures on the NHS and costs our country £17bn a year.

"We have a chance to cut cancer deaths by a quarter, significantly ease those pressures and protect our children, and we should take it."

Read More: Cannabis-smoking parents guilty of Christmas Day murder of their baby - days after he was placed back in their care

Read More: Vaping has become an uncontrollable ‘epidemic’ in schools, reveals this teacher

The prime minister said the proposal is 'not a values judgement on people who smoke' and said there is no ban on people who already smoke.

Tory MPs will not be forced into voting for the changes, he added.

"The vote on this in parliament will be a free vote, as the ban on smoking in public places was and raising the smoking age to 18 was," he said.

"There will be no government whip. It is a matter of conscience."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Birmingham Aiport

Travel chaos strikes major UK airport as passengers stuck in lengthy queues

Police rammed the cow

Owner of cow rammed by police gives update on its condition and says officers should be fired for 'disgusting' incident

Police shot a man with an axe and a molotov cocktail

Police shoot man brandishing 'axe and molotov cocktail' near Euro 2024 fan zone hosting 40,000 supporters

Labour's Wes Streeting has called for a debate with Nigel Farage

Labour's Wes Streeting calls for debate with Nigel Farage to take on 'toxic rhetoric' in 'battle of ideas'

Prince William's children have sent him a Father's Day message

'We love you papa': George, Charlotte and Louis send Prince William Father's Day message in first social media post

Labour and the Conservatives would leave the NHS 'worse off than under austerity', the Nuffield Trust has warned

Labour and Tories would leave NHS 'worse off' than under austerity, health think tank warns

Exclusive
Mark Harper has admitted there is a 'hard fight ahead' for the Conservatives to win the election

Minister admits 'hard fight ahead' as poll suggests 'Tory extinction' - but says no deal to be done with Farage

William and Charles have shared Father's Day messages

Prince William sends touching Father's Day message to Charles with new photo, as King also shares childhood video

Labour and the Conservatives will face off in the July 4 election

Labour landslide could see Tories winning just 72 seats, poll finds, as Rishi Sunak's party faces 'electoral extinction'

Live
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

General Election LIVE: Poll suggests Tory wipe-out on July 4, as Sunak insists 'only election itself matters'

Exclusive
Pooja Kanda with Ronan

Mother of murdered son urges online shops to stop selling knives voluntarily if laws won't ban them

Israel has paused fighting to allow more aid into southern Gaza

Israel announces 'tactical pause' in fighting to allow more aid into southern Gaza

Rishi Sunak said his faith guides him

Rishi Sunak says 'Hindu faith and duty' guide him as PM, and insists he is patriotic despite Nigel Farage's attacks

Gordon Ramsay 'lucky to be alive' as star shows off shocking injuries after being involved 'brutal' cycling accident

Gordon Ramsay 'lucky to be alive' as star shows off shocking injuries after being involved in 'brutal' cycling accident

Putin is 'not interested in genuine peace' in Ukraine, Rishi Sunak tells world in Switzerland

Putin is 'not interested in genuine peace' in Ukraine, Rishi Sunak tells world leaders in Switzerland

Kate's big comeback: Princess and William share tender moment as she re-joins royals at Trooping the Colour

Kate's big comeback: Princess and William share tender moment as she re-joins royals at Trooping the Colour