News & Comment

Calls to raise smoking age to 21 "infantalise young adults"

Sun 3rd March, 2019

Forest has criticised calls to raise the legal age for buying tobacco from 18 to 21.

The proposal is included in a report by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health which is run by the anti-smoking group Action on Smoking and Health (ASH).

Other proposals include further restrictions on the portrayal of smoking on television and in films, and introducing a levy on tobacco companies that would be used to fund further anti-smoking initiatives.

Simon Clark, director of Forest, said:

“These proposals infantilise young adults. If you’re 18 and old enough to vote, drive a car and join the army you’re old enough to make an informed decision to smoke.

“Raising the current age at which you can buy tobacco, or censoring films and TV programmes that try to depict real life, takes paternalism to a new level.

“The real sickness in society is not smoking, which is in long-term decline across all age groups, but the creeping prohibition that is removing our ability to make choices and take personal responsibility for our own lives.

“Ultimately, if you treat adults like children, don’t be surprised if they behave like children.”

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