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Brief for parliamentarians

The SFAC has produced a brief for parliamentarians on raising the age of sale, endorsed by leading health organisations. This brief is for the second reading of the Tobacco and Vapes Bill on Tuesday 16th April.

The organisations listed below endorse this brief and urge parliamentarians to support the legislation to create a ‘smokefree generation’ by ending cigarette sales to those born on or after 1 January 2009.

The tobacco industry is lobbying to block the policy or limit its impact, but have been rebuffed by the Prime Minister with full support from the Official Opposition. The legislation is:

The legislation is:

  • Needed: DHSC modelling demonstrates that the legislation could eliminate smoking in under 30s by 2050.
  • Wanted: More than half of small retailers, and 69% of adults, including more than half of all smokers, support the legislation.
  • Workable: Public support, backed up by a comprehensive communications strategy can secure high levels of compliance from the start.

Tobacco industry arguments against the legislation can be rebutted one by one:

  1. Smoking is not a free choice; it is an addiction.
  2. Raising the age of sale will reduce pressure on the NHS by improving health and wellbeing.
  3. The cost of smoking to public finances is far greater than tobacco tax revenues.
  4. Compliance can be secured with a few simple measures.
  5. Raising the age of sale will have little impact on the black market, which is controlled by enforcement.
  6. Most small businesses support tobacco regulations and want to see them strengthened.


British Heart Foundation
Cancer Research UK
Diabetes UK
Alzheimer's Research UK
Mental Health Foundation
Centre for Mental Health
Asthma and Lung UK
The King's Fund
ASH Wales
Richmond Group
Association of Directors of Public Health
Faculty of Public Health
Charted Trading Standards Institute
Royal Society for Public Health
Breathe 2025
Champs Public Health Collaborative
Humber and North Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership
Royal College of Physicians
Royal College of Midwives
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
Royal College of Psychiatrists
Royal College of GPs
Royal College of Surgeons of England
Association of Anaesthetists
UK Preconception Partnership