Health leaders herald the first reading of the Smokefree Generation bill in Parliament

Health leaders in Humber and North Yorkshire are delighted to learn that the tobacco and vapes bill will be launched in Parliament today, Wednesday 20 March, signifying a major step towards a smokefree future.

The Humber and North Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership has been a vocal advocate of the bill. The bill aims to dramatically reduce smoking rates by prohibiting the sale of tobacco products – including cigarettes, cigars, and e-cigarettes – to anyone born on or after 1 January 2009.

This ensures anyone under 15 in 2024 will never legally purchase tobacco, even as adults. In addition, there will be new fixed penalty fines of £100 for selling cigarettes or vapes to children and new regulatory measures on vaping to prevent the uptake in young people. 

Tobacco is an entirely preventable cause of ill health, disability, and death in the country, responsible for 64,000 fatalities in England a year. No other consumer product kills up to two-thirds of its users.

This is especially important for the Humber and North Yorkshire region, which contains areas with some of the highest rates of smoking in the UK, compared to national averages.

Scott Crosby, Associate Director for the Humber and North Yorkshire Centre for Excellence in Tobacco Control, said: “I am thrilled that the bill has passed its first reading. Since the Prime Minister’s announcement in October, the Centre for Excellence in Tobacco Control has been steadfastly supportive, recognising that safeguarding our children from this harm is an investment in our nation’s future.

“There is no safe way to use tobacco, so it is important that the legislation applies to all types of tobacco products, including combustible, smokeless and heated. We urge every Member of Parliament to endorse this groundbreaking legislation.”

Last week, various representatives from across the region attended a ‘Smoking Survivors’ event in the Houses of Parliament on No Smoking Day to show their support for the Smokefree Generation bill and share their experiences of tobacco harm.

One of the speakers at the event was Hull City Councillor, Linda Chambers, who sadly lost her husband Mike to smoking-related cardiovascular disease in July 2022. Linda’s story can be viewed on YouTube.

Speaking about the Smokefree Generation bill, Linda said: “I am delighted to hear that the bill has been tabled and I support a smokefree generation because I know it can have a huge positive impact on our future. This is the best way we can save our NHS.

“One in four people come into hospital because of smoking-related illness, they’re trapped in an addiction that’s damaging them. Not only does it cut years off people’s lives, but it also costs the NHS millions of pounds in treating the harms caused by tobacco.

“By doing everything we can to protect children from ever picking up that first cigarette, we save them from the harm, destruction and death from tobacco.”

Figures show:

  • Most smokers start as teenagers with 83% smoking before the age of 20.¹
  • ¾ of smokers would never have started if they had the choice again.¹
  • Smokers who start younger have higher levels of tobacco dependency and suffer a worse risk of lung cancer and heart disease during their lives.²

Around three-quarters of adults in Yorkshire and the Humber (74%) support the Government’s ambition to reduce smoking prevalence by 2030 to 5% or less. Two-thirds (65%) of adults support increasing the age of sale of tobacco to 21 years, and just over half (51%) of adults support increasing the age of sale every year.³


¹ Stopping the start: our new plan to create a smokefree generation, DHSC

² Young people and smoking, Ash

³ Local public opinion, Ash