Smokefree generation

A new YouGov poll for Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) shows 68% of people in the East Midlands support the Prime Minister’s plans to create a smokefree generation by raising the age of sale so that it will never be legal to sell tobacco to anyone born after the start of 2009.

The poll comes with one day to go until the end of the UK-wide Government consultation to stop the start of new smokers, which also covers tougher regulation to curb youth vaping.

A requirement for retailers to request proof of age from all those buying tobacco, to make the policy easier to implement, is also supported by ASH, and backed by 67% of the public in the East Midlands.

The consultation also considers what further regulations are needed on vaping products. ASH is calling for the following measures:

· Making disposable vapes subject to duty to reduce their affordability and increase powers of HMRC and Border Force to prevent illegal vapes being imported.

· Putting vapes behind the counter and preventing their promotion in shops

· Banning product design and brand imagery on vapes and their packaging which is appealing to children

Together these measures will reduce the affordability and appeal of vaping to children while ensuring e-cigarettes remain available as a less harmful alternative to help smokers quit.

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH, said:

“This is not a party political issue in the UK, successive governments, backed by strong public and parliamentary support, have passed increasingly stringent tobacco regulations aimed at bringing the smoking epidemic to an end. The passing of the smokefree generation legislation promised in the King’s speech, backed by increased investment to help adult smokers quit, can put us in pole position to achieve a smokefree future.”

Lucy Hubber, Nottingham City Council Director of Public Health, said:

“Smoking is the leading cause of preventable ill health and death in Nottingham due to its well recognised harms including stillbirths, lung disease, heart disease, stroke, and dementia. Smoking is also the single most important driver of health inequalities.

“Smoking & tobacco control is a priority within the Nottingham City Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy with just over one in five (21.2%) adults in Nottingham being current smokers. By bringing together Nottingham and Nottinghamshire’s two local authorities, districts, hospitals, fire service, police and a range of other important community partners, we have created a strong alliance with the shared goal of building a smoke-free generation. It is great to see the public are in support of this public health legislation as it presents a key opportunity to make a smoke-free generation a reality.

“We know almost two-thirds of our current smokers in Nottingham wish to stop smoking. While this legislation focuses on preventing the next generation of smokers, in Nottingham there is free advice and support for those who want to quit today – wherever you live in the East Midlands, you can find more about your local stop smoking service here.”

Councillor Linda Woodings, Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care and Health at Nottingham City Council, said:

“Like the majority of our citizens, I support the proposed legislation which increases the age-of sale of cigarettes. Smoking harms peoples’ health and places pressure on our NHS causing over 11,000 hospital admissions and more than 4,500 preventable deaths each year across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. However, the damage it causes goes beyond this as its impact is felt by families and communities.

“Smoking is an addictive habit that traps many people at a young age. This new legislation will support future generations of children and young people to live healthier and longer lives.

“The harms of smoking are not the same across the UK with people in some communities being more likely to smoke or finding it harder to quit. This legislation is vital in helping to reduce the avoidable differences in health between communities that result from smoking.”

Reference: Khan Review, 2022, Making smoking obsolete (

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 3,533 adults of which 435 were from the East of England. Fieldwork was undertaken between 15th – 17th November 2023. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all adults in England (aged 18+).