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Committee Chair urges fellow MPs to back legislation to limit smoking

16 April 2024

Ahead of today’s Second Reading of the Tobacco and Vapes Bill (Tues 16 April), Steve Brine MP, Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee said:

“Later today I’ll be urging my fellow MPs to support this Bill to save lives and create a smokefree generation.

“It is beyond reason that we allow the legal sale of products that are known to kill when used correctly. Tens of thousands of lives lost to cancer, heart disease and strokes could be saved by backing this legislation. Smoking is the biggest preventable killer in our country today. We’re not talking about people having a free choice, it’s an addiction.

“The Bill doesn’t criminalise existing smokers but will make it illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone who is born on or after New Year’s Day 2009. We will be saying it’s not okay to start smoking when you reach 18. In future we’ll look back and ask how did we ever say it was? Smoking rates are coming down but now it’s time to finish the job. Public opinion is clear, there’s widespread support for these measures.

“This Bill’s provisions to stop youth vaping are important to get right and I commend the Government for taking up the recommendation of my Committee, and many others, to target single-use vapes and ban them. But more comprehensive measures are essential. We see the cynical marketing at young adults, teenagers and pre-teen children with vapes sold as a lifestyle product. The long-term effects of vaping are simply not known. We must allocate and apply resources to finding out what effects vaping in all its forms is likely to have long term on health and well-being if we are to prevent further pressures on our overburdened NHS.

“In a publicly funded healthcare system such as ours we have a right and I would argue a responsibility to act on population level public health.”

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Image credit: UK Parliament