The End for Cigarettes?
Activists have been pushing for increased smoking bans and now, with the growth of vaping, more members of the public appear to support the move. A Centre for Public Impact survey noted a shift in opinions in 2019. Last year, a YouGov report highlighted the number had grown further still. Now, a new poll shows a majority of Brits support banning cigarettes in favour of encouraging people to use electronic cigarettes.
The 2006 Health Act introduced a smoking ban in enclosed public spaces and workplaces across the United Kingdom. Despite resistance from industry funded pro-smoking groups and the business itself, the ban is considered to have been a success and led the Centre for Public Impact to say “the UK has some of the most comprehensive tobacco control regulations worldwide.”
Its survey discovered that public opinion had grown and 83% supported the ban compared to 78% before the ban was implemented.
Last year, Philip Morris International announced that it planned to exit the tobacco business and pledged its support to a complete ban on the sale of cigarettes in the UK in ten years.
YouGov looked at how the public felt about a complete smoking ban and discovered that three in five people think this is a good plan. On top of that, 40% felt it should be carried out sooner than in ten years’ time.
Of course, this opinion differed depending on how old the respondent was. Young people were the most likely to consider a complete ban a good idea. Worryingly, older people tended to feel that vapes should be included in the total ban too.
This month a Techne UK poll was conducted following the recent Khan Report. Dr Javed Khan OBE warned: “My review found that without further action, England will miss the smokefree 2030 target by at least 7 years, and the poorest areas in society will not meet it until 2044. To have any chance of hitting the smokefree 2030 target, we need to accelerate the rate of decline of people who smoke, by 40%.”
As well as telling the government to embrace vaping as the most effective tool to help smokers quit, he said that it should consider phasing in a complete ban by increasing the age of sale for all tobacco products from 18, by one year, every year, “so we achieve a smokefree generation in this country.”
The Techne UK poll found that the number of people who would support an immediate ban in smoking had risen from YouGov’s 40% to 54%.
Dr Nveed Chaudhary told journalists: “Banning cigarettes tomorrow would force smokers to use e-cigarettes which will end up saving many, many lives.”
As well as encouraging more smokers to switch to vaping, such a move could save the country money according to Action on Smoking and Health. The charity estimates that tobacco costs the country over £17 billion every year.
The government was said to be considering the proposition but then the Prime Minister resigned, and its attention looked elsewhere. How would you feel about a complete ban on tobacco?