By Sounak Mukhopadhyay

Inspired by New Zealand which is imposed a total ban on cigarettes British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is also considering severe restrictions on cigarettes. Interestingly both the purchase and consumption of cigarettes come down in India. However, the sale of Gutka is flourishing.

UK PM Rishi Sunak is considering anti-smoking measures to prevent next generation from buying cigarettes, similar to New Zealand’s policies.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is contemplating drastic anti-smoking policies that could effectively prevent the next generation from ever purchasing cigarettes, The Guardian reported citing confidential government sources. These measures are reportedly akin to those implemented by New Zealand in December 2022, which aim to incrementally raise the legal age for buying tobacco products. Such drastic steps could permanently phase out cigarette sales for those born on or after January 1, 2009. In New Zealand, former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also took action to lower the nicotine content in tobacco and limit its sale to specialised stores.
Although Sunak’s office has remained tight-lipped, it’s understood that these anti-smoking measures are part of a wider consumer-centric policy initiative aimed at the upcoming elections, the publication added. LiveMint could not independently verify the report.
The UK Labour Party earlier signalled openness to similar proposals earlier in 2023. Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting expressed the party’s intent to consult on gradually discontinuing cigarette sales for younger age groups, echoing New Zealand’s approach.
Sunak, as per the publication, is also reconsidering levying a £10 (Rs1,000) fine for those who miss medical appointments, a proposal initially announced during his summer 2022 campaign. However, the political feasibility of such an action remains uncertain.
Sunak has faced considerable challenges, including criticisms for backtracking on his party’s net-zero emissions commitments. However, the anti-smoking policy seems to be a distinct strategy designed to address public health concerns.
Rumours are also swirling that the prime minister might revamp the education system, potentially overhauling A-levels in favour of a system resembling the international baccalaureate (IB), allowing students to study more subjects, The Guadian reported.
Meanwhile, Keir Starmer has accused Sunak of causing instability, stating the government’s recent moves have exacerbated the country’s economic woes. The leader of the Labour Party did not mince words, saying that Sunak’s inconsistencies are impeding national renewal.
Read more about the development in The Guardian report.

Courtesy: The Livemint

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