MP seeks views on proposed changes to smoking age as he weighs up personal liberties issues
MP Philip Dunne is asking constituents in South Shropshire for their views on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's plans to legislate so that children aged 14 or younger - anyone born on or after 1st April, 2009 – can never legally be sold tobacco products.
By 2040, these proposals will ensure that smoking is phased out completely among young people.
Now Ludlow MP Mr Dunne has set out to seek the views of residents about proposed changes to the smoking age.
The Government has also launched a consultation on how best to tackle the underage sales of vapes, and is actively considering proposals including restricting flavours, regulating point of sale displays, regulating packaging and considering restrictions on the sale of disposable vapes.
The Prime Minister has made clear that the proposals will be subject to a free vote in Parliament, so Mr Dunne is asking constituents to let him know their views, to understand better how local residents feel about the issue. The online survey can be completed at tellphilip.com.
Mr Dunne said: “This is not a clear cut issue, so I am very interested to know what residents in South Shropshire think.
"On the one hand, as a former health minister, I know all too well that smoking is the single leading behavioural cause of preventable death across our country, responsible for around one in four cancer deaths and 64,000 premature deaths per year.
"But equally, while I have never been a smoker myself, as a believer in individual freedom I harbour some concerns about restricting the free choice of adults, particularly when progress is already being made to cut smoking rates through increased duty and other measures.
"I am also concerned about setting a precedent in which some adults in this country have greater freedom than others.
"I will be particularly interested to see whether age, political party support, or current or previous smoking affects how people feel about this issue. So I encourage constituents to fill out my short survey at www.tellphilip.com, to let me know their views.”