On April 16 2024, MPs voted on a landmark piece of legislation to protect future generations across the UK from the harmful effects of smoking. 

The Tobacco and Vapes Bill, which has now passed its second reading in the House of Commons, would make it an offence to sell tobacco to anyone born after January 1 2009 – meaning that children aged 15 or younger today will never legally be allowed to buy tobacco products. 

The Bill would also give the Government new powers to restrict vaping flavours and regulate how vapes are sold and packaged to make them less appealing to children. 

Mel Stride, MP for Central Devon and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has advocated for tighter restrictions on children's access to tobacco products for several years and was heavily involved in the successful campaign for plain-packaged tobacco products. 

Mr Stride said: "I have long been concerned about the uniquely harmful impact of smoking, particularly where children are concerned. This Bill is world-leading in its approach and, if passed, will bring the UK closer to creating the first smokefree generation."

Smoking is responsible for around 80,000 deaths annually and is the UK's single biggest preventable killer, costing the NHS and economy an estimated £17 billion a year. 

The Bill will now progress to the committee stage.