The government is considering banning cigarettes from being sold to those under 21 years of age as a way to improve public health.
A group of influential cross-party MP’s proposed increasing the minimum smoking age as well as imposing a levy on the large tobacco producers to finance programs to help people stop smoking and to discourage young people from picking up the habit.
The smoking and health group in parliament has the support of 17 health charities and medical groups. They also want to minimise smoking being portrayed on TV and in movies.
The group was central in implementing plain packaging and banning smoking in public areas and they believe there won’t be much resistance in this approach.
Matt Hancock, the health secretary, stated that reducing the rate of smoking is vital to the plan of the government to add 5 years to healthy life expectancy by 2035. The Department of Health in England is aiming to lower the high number of 15-year-olds who smoke on a regular basis from 8% to below 3% and lower adult smokers from 15.5% to below 12% by the end of 2022.
Increasing the cigarette buying age to 21 years would put the UK on the same level as a number of countries and cities worldwide. These include Kuwait, Honduras and New York City.
Smoking and vaping are seen as a continued health problem amongst young people. Some schools in the UK and US are now using Nicotine Drug Test Kits (also know as Cotinine Drug Test Kits) in order to monitor smoking activity. This often part of a wider program of drug testing in schools.