British doctors ban smoking for anyone born after 2000, or so they hope. Cigarettes will be banned to anyone born after the year 2000 if doctors secure legislative support for a radical new policy they have backed.
According to The Guardian, the motion passed at the British Medical Association’s annual representatives’ meeting on Tuesday means that the doctors’ union will lobby the government to introduce the ban in the same way it successfully pushed for a ban on lighting up in public places and on smoking in cars carrying children, after votes in 2002 and 2011.
The proposal is supported by Sheila Hollins, the chair of the BMS’s board of science. She states that the ban would “break the cycle of children starting to smoke” and be a huge step towards achieving the association’s goal of a tobacco-free society by 2035.
London research assistant in academic public health, Tim Crocker-Buqué, said:
“The level of harm caused by smoking is unconscionable.”
Crocker-Buque also cited a variety of statistics in regards to smoking and health in the discussion. He states that 80 percent of smokers started as teenagers and banning the sale of cigarettes to those born after 2000 would help create the first tobacco-free generation. He claimed 100 million people had died from tobacco-related illness in the 20th century and two in three smokers wished they could stop, while nine in 10 wished they had never started.
“It is not expected that this policy will instantly prevent all people from smoking, but [rather it will] de-normalize cigarette smoking.”
Due to a heavy push from the British medical community, it has been illegal to smoke in public places such as pubs, restaurants and the workplace for many years, according to the BBC. A large portion of the doctors present at the conference agreed with the proposal, but not everyone was buying into the plan.
The Guardian reported that Yohanna Takwoingi of Birmingham noted that the number of 11 to 15-year-olds smoking had halved in 16 years.
“Seeking a headline ban is a headline-grabbing initiative that may lead to ridicule of the profession.”
He also stated that he felt if a ban on smoking were to be placed on the public, a ban on alcohol consumption would also be needed for fairness. The smokers’ group Forest, as well as the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association, was against the proposal. Both groups said that existing laws stopping children smoking should be enforced instead. The groups called the proposal “arbitrary, unenforceable and completely illiberal.”
What do you think of the proposed ban on smoking in Britain? Should a government body be able to limit a person’s freedom to smoke?
[Image Credit: The Huffington Post]