Exemption for Cigars
A group of twelve Tory MPs are considering rebelling against Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's proposed smoking ban, unless cigars are exempted from the ban. Sunak's plan includes gradually raising the legal age to purchase tobacco by one year each year starting in 2027.
No Smoking for Future Generations
If the ban is implemented as planned, anyone born after January 1, 2009 (currently 14 years old) will never be legally allowed to smoke.
Protecting Cigar Imports
Senior MPs, including former ministers, have expressed concerns about the impact of the ban on the £800 million UK cigar import industry. Cigar imports also generated £141 million in tax revenue last year.
Concerns Over Shisha Pipes
There are also concerns about the ban's potential impact on Middle Eastern restaurants that serve shisha pipes. Critics argue that outlawing shisha pipes could have a negative effect on these establishments.
An anonymous source from the Department of Health has revealed that the number of MPs privately expressing concerns about the ban is much higher than those publicly criticizing the policy.
Consultation and Opposition
The government is currently consulting on the proposed smoking ban, with the consultation period set to close early next month. However, Simon Clark, the director of smokers group Forest, has called for the entire policy to be scrapped, arguing against a "two-tier" system and advocating for individuals to have the freedom to choose whether or not to smoke.