Legal age to buy cigarettes could be raised to 21

Stop selling cigarettes to teens, a cross-party parliamentary group has said (Picture: Getty Images)

Sales of cigarettes to teenagers could be banned by 2030.

The recommendation to raise the legal age for buying fags from 18 to 21 was made by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health.

They said more people are likely to have been killed from smoking than coronavirus since last year.

Under the proposals, tobacco companies would be subject to a ‘polluter pays’ law amendment to prevent children and young people from taking up the habit and help smokers quit.

The government has committed to achieving a smokefree society by 2030 in which fewer than 5% of the adult population smokes.

The cross-party group of MPs and peers said it must now commit to stronger actions that are needed to secure its vision.

The legal age to buy cigarettes could be raised to 21 as part of efforts to stop people smoking in the UK.

Could it soon be illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone under 21? (Picture: In Pictures/Corbis/Getty Images)
Bob Blackman MP is chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health (Picture: PA Archive/PA Images)

APPG chairman Bob Blackman said: ‘Our report sets out measures which will put us on track to achieve the government’s ambition to end smoking by 2030, but they can’t be delivered without funding.

‘Tobacco manufacturers make extreme profits selling highly addictive, lethal products, while government coffers are bare because of Covid-19.

‘The manufacturers have the money, they should be made to pay to end the epidemic.’

The group called for targeted investment to provide extra support to help smokers stop in regions and communities where smoking does the most damage.

This would include people who are in routine and manual jobs, unemployed, living in social housing, or who have a mental health condition or are pregnant.

Five large councils areas including Manchester and Newcastle have banned smoking outside pubs (Picture: PA)

The report suggests widespread public support for the recommendations, which have been backed by health charities and medical groups, with more than three quarters (76%) of the public supporting the Smokefree 2030 ambition.

Some 77% support the polluter pays levy, while 63% backed increasing the age of sale from 18 to 21.

Smoking outside cafes, pubs and restaurants was banned this month by five councils in the north of England.

Oxfordshire County Council is considering following suit, having announced its aim to go completely smoke-free by 2025.

MORE : Number of cigarettes smoked in the UK ‘drastically increased’ during lockdown

MORE : I’m using lockdown to finally kick my smoking habit

MORE : Smokers told to quit now as they are ’14 times more at risk from coronavirus’

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