Though the legal age to buy cigarettes in the United Kingdom is currently 18 years old, those born in the year 2000 and afterward could be banned from buying such tobacco products at all, if a group of doctors have anything to say about it.
The British Medical Association voted Tuesday to ban anyone born after the year 2000 from buying cigarettes, which would mean at no point in their life would they be allowed to purchase them.The policy supported by the doctors would have to be turned into law to have any effect though.
“The level of harm caused by smoking is unconscionable,” London research assistant Dr. Tim Crocker-Buque said at the Association’s annual representatives meeting, according to its own news article about the decision.
With 80 percent of smokers taking their first drags as teenagers, Crocker-Buque said the association members believe stopping the sale of cigarettes to this age group would create a tobacco-free generation.
“It is not expected that this policy will instantly prevent all people from smoking, but [rather it will] de-normalize cigarette smoking,” Crocker-Buque added.
“As this generation [reaches] 18 in 2018 they would be prevented from buying cigarettes for their lifetime in a move that would progressively phase out cigarette sales,” Crocker-Buque said, according to the Daily Telegraph.
The association doesn’t skirt around the fact that such a ban could create a black market. In its own article about the vote, the association included dissenting opinions.
“The potential health risks of those may be even greater than those of legal cigarettes,” Adrianna Klejnotowska, a medical student, told the association, advocating more taxes as a deterrent instead.
Dr. Yohanna Takwoingi called the idea of the ban “a headline-grabbing initiative that may lead to ridicule of the profession,” the Guardian reported.
Simon Clark, director of Forest (Freedom Organization for the Right to Enjoy Smoking), told the Daily Telegraph that “criminalizing adults for buying tobacco is illiberal and impractical.”