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Homechevron_rightWorldchevron_rightUK Parliament to...

UK Parliament to deliberate legislation phasing out smoking

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London: UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's proposed law aimed at preventing young people from taking up smoking will be the subject of the UK Parliament's first debate on Tuesday, despite facing opposition within his own Conservative Party.

The legislation, if passed, would prohibit the sale of tobacco products to individuals born after January 1, 2009, effectively incrementally raising the legal smoking age each year until it encompasses the entire population.

Upon unveiling the plan, the government hailed it as "historic" and asserted that it has the potential to significantly reduce smoking among young people by the year 2040.

Although the proposed law is expected to garner support from opposition parties, Sunak may encounter resistance from backbench Conservative MPs, highlighting the internal divisions within his party. With dwindling political capital amid months of dismal polling, Sunak faces a challenging task in navigating party dissent.

Conservative MP Simon Clarke expressed skepticism and opposition to the proposed measures, citing concerns about potential unintended consequences. He cautioned against the risk of glamorizing smoking, creating a black market, and presenting logistical challenges for enforcement authorities.

Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson also weighed in on the matter, criticizing the proposal as he highlighted the historical association of cigars with the Conservative Party.

Despite internal dissent, public opinion appears to favor a phased approach to banning smoking, with approximately two-thirds of UK citizens supporting such measures.

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