TORONTO – Ban the sale of cigarettes to anyone born after the year 2000 and create a new generation of youth non-smokers: It’s a controversial theory but it’s one British health officials will be voting on.
The proposed ban wouldn’t affect any adult smokers now, but creating the law would make smoking illegal as the kids get older. The reasoning behind this controversial ban? Picking up the habit of lighting up typically starts in youth – if officials can stop that from happening in the first place, youth won’t be fighting with tobacco dependency.
“Cigarette smoking is specifically a choice made by children that results in addiction in adulthood, that is extremely difficult to give up,” said Tim Crocker-Buque, who proposed the motion, according to the Guardian newspaper in the U.K.
“Eighty per cent of people who smoke start as teenagers. It’s very rare for people to make an informed decision in adulthood. The idea of this proposal is to prevent those children who are not smoking from taking up smoking,” he said.
On Tuesday, the British Medical Association’s representatives will vote on whether the doctors union will lobby the government to enforce the proposal.
The suggested ban is heading to a vote the same way that other successful anti-smoking policies have in the U.K. Making smoking in cars carrying kids illegal is another example.
Canada’s fighting its own war on youth and smoking – right now, it’s working on banning flavoured tobacco products with flavours such as bubble gum, cherry and watermelon.
In a Canadian Cancer Society report, data suggested that 52 per cent of high schoolers from Grade 9 to 12 tried these products. That’s about 169,300 teens.
This data from the Youth Smoking Survey revealed that 14 per cent of high school students smoked cigarettes, 20 per cent had used a tobacco product and 10 per cent used a flavoured product.
The rates are within the same range across Canada – it was the highest in Quebec with 59 per cent of high schoolers trying flavoured tobacco and lowest in Ontario at 46 per cent.