Mid Worcestershire MP Nigel Huddleston backs 'smoking bill' in parliament - The Droitwich Standard

Mid Worcestershire MP Nigel Huddleston backs 'smoking bill' in parliament

Droitwich Editorial 18th Apr, 2024   0

MP Nigel Huddleston has voted in favour of the Tobacco & Vapes Bill in Parliament on Tuesday (April 16) which aims to phase out smoking for the next generation.

The Bill stands to be the ‘most significant public health measure’ introduced in this country in a generation, with plans to create the first ‘smokefree’ generation by banning the sale of tobacco products to anyone born after January 1, 2009.

Smoking causes around 80,000 deaths every year and is responsible for 75,000 GP appointments every month.

It causes 1 in 4 cancer deaths, including 70% of lung cancer cases, increases the risk of stillbirth by almost 50% and can lead to premature dementia and early strokes. It also costs the economy and wider society £17 billion a year.

In her speech to the Parliament, secretary of state for health and social care Victoria Atkins MP said:

“There is no liberty in addiction. Nicotine robs people of their freedom to choose.

“It is our responsibility—indeed, our duty—to protect the next generation.

“We know that our policy is supported by the majority of retailers, and around 70% of the public.”

The idea of a smokefree generation will be achieved by preventing anyone aged 15 or younger from legally buying tobacco by incrementally increasing the legal smoking age year on year.

The Bill also brings in measures to reduce the appeal and availability of vapes to children, as youth vaping has tripled in three years with one in five children having used one.

MP for Mid Worcestershire Nigel Huddleston said: “We passed a pivotal piece of legislation in Parliament. There are few occasions when in parliament you walk into the voting lobbies knowing that what you are doing will save lives. Voting on the smoking bill was one such occasion.

“I know from discussing with constituents there is strong, but not unanimous, support for it – including with young people who will be most affected by it.

“I am well aware that not everyone will agree and I have a great deal of sympathy with those who object on freedom and personal choice grounds.

“There is no safe level of consumption of nicotine and smoking is a public health issue not just personal choice. The cost of dealing with the consequences of smoking is borne by everyone through the tax system that pays for the NHS.

“My father was a life-longer smoker who tried again and again to give up, but died of lung cancer, so I also carry some personal baggage on this subject.”

In total, 383 members of parliament voting in favour of the bill, helped by Labour’s support of the legislation. Despite this, 59 Tories chose to vote against the plans, with many citing the ideals of freedom of personal choice.

Dozens more abstained from casting their vote on the proposals.

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