King Charles announces tobacco ban in plans to create 'smoke-free generation'

7 November 2023, 13:01 | Updated: 7 November 2023, 13:06

King Charles confirmed the plans to ban smoking for the next generation.
King Charles confirmed the plans to ban smoking for the next generation. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

King Charles has announced plans to create a “smoke-free generation” by restricting the sale of tobacco to children of a certain age for the rest of their lives.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The King confirmed the Tobacco and Vapes Bill during his first King's Speech to Parliament on Tuesday, which means children born after 2009 will never legally be able to purchase tobacco in England.

Speaking to Parliament, Charles said: “My Government will introduce legislation to create a smoke-free generation by restricting the sale of tobacco so that children currently aged fourteen or younger can never be sold cigarettes, and restricting the sale and marketing of e-cigarettes to children.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the move would mean “a 14-year-old today will never legally be sold a cigarette and that they and their generation can grow up smoke-free”.

This policy would mean that anyone born on or after 1 January 2009 would never be able to purchase tobacco in a bid to phase out the products for the next generation.

Mr Sunak has said that smoking will not be criminalised under the ban.

It is hoped the Bill will see up to 1.7 million fewer people smoking by 2075, and potentially even wipe out smoking completely among young people by 2040.

Read more: King's Speech at a glance: Smoking ban, crime crackdown and new football regulator

Read more: Charles announces crackdown on 'the scourge of unlicensed pedicabs in London' during King's speech

King Charles announced the ban during his first King's Speech to Parliament.
King Charles announced the ban during his first King's Speech to Parliament. Picture: Alamy

Mr Sunak first unveiled the plans to create a smoke-free generation at the Tory conference in September.

“If we want to change the direction of our country and build a better future for our children, that means tackling the single biggest entirely preventable cause of ill health, disability and death: smoking,” it was said.

“The Bill will implement the hard but necessary decisions to get the country on the right path for the future.

“There is no more addictive product that is legally sold in our shops than tobacco.

“And four fifths of smokers start before the age of 20 which is why stopping the start of addiction is vital.”

The age ban will be raised by one year every year for people aged 14.
The age ban will be raised by one year every year for people aged 14. Picture: Getty

However, Mr Sunak has faced backlash over the plans, with some Tory MPs reportedly gearing up to vote against the Bill if a free vote is issued in the House of Commons.

Today’s Bill will also aim to crack down on vaping and e-cigarettes among the younger generation.

“Smoking rates fall when leaders take decisive action: that’s why we support the UK Government’s commitment to changing the age of sale of tobacco announced in the King’s Speech today,” Cancer Research UK's chief executive Michelle Mitchell said.

“The Government should move to bring this legislation before Parliament in early 2024, and we call on MPs from all parties to support it.

“I’ve never met anyone who wants their child to take up smoking. Cancer Research UK estimates that there are around 885,000 16–24-year-olds smoking in the UK today.”

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Police clashed with Legia Warsaw fans on Thursday night

Police officer set on fire and three more hurt after Polish football fans unleash 'planned violence' at Aston Villa game

King Charles in Dubai

Charles to tell world leaders 'the Earth does not belong to us' at Cop28 as he 'prays for action on climate'

Israel Palestinians

Israel announces resumption of combat in Gaza Strip as truce with Hamas expires

Parts of the UK are set to see 5cm of snow on Friday

Brits to get 5cm of snow in wintry blast as temperatures plummet to -10C, after schools close

The IDF said fighting had resumed

Israel-Hamas war restarts as truce deadline expires, after IDF intercepts missile fired from Gaza

Released prisoner

Israeli military confirms release of six more hostages in Gaza Strip

Rishi Sunak will call for an "era of action" on the climate

Sunak to call for 'era of action' on climate at Cop28 - despite watering down green measures at home

Omid Scobie has insisted he never sent out a book including two royals' names amid racism allegations

Dutch translator on Omid Scobie's Endgame insists she was sent manuscript with two royals' names in race row

Lloyds banking group is closing more branches in 2024.

Lloyds group to close 45 branches as Labour pledges to keep banks back on the high street - is your local affected?

Hall and Oates

Hall and Oates row: Judge extends pause on Oates’ sale of stake in business

Hamas has claimed Israel is refusing to take back the bodies of the Bibas family

Hamas releases propaganda video of father of 10-month-old Kfir Bibas saying Israel refuses to take his family's bodies

Police clashed with Legia Warsaw fans

Three officers injured as Polish football fans unleash 'planned and systematic violence' on police ahead of Villa game

William and Kate dazzled on the red carpet as they brushed off Scobie's claims

William and Kate all smiles on red carpet as royals brush aside storm around Omid Scobie's book Endgame

Opec sign

Saudi Arabia extends cut in oil it sends to world in bid to boost prices

An 18-month row over pay, job security and conditions has come to an end, for now

'Provoke us again and we will respond in kind': Mick Lynch issues new threat to government after pay deal halts strikes

Matt Hancock appeared at the Covid inquiry on Thursday

Cummings a 'malign actor' and 'missed opportunities': 11 revelations from Matt Hancock's Covid inquiry appearance