Rishi Sunak to ban people smoking as legal age will go up every year

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    Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced plans to banish smoking, increasing the legal age at which someone can buy tobacco by one year every year.

    The PM announced the historic crackdown on smoking while speaking at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester this afternoon (Wednesday, October 4).

    He said: "We must tackle the single biggest entirely preventable cause of ill health disability and death.

    READ MORE: Mia Khalifa slammed over 'stupidest flex' filming herself smoking while driving 60mph

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    "And that is smoking, and our country. Smoking causes, one in four cancer deaths.

    "If we are to do the right thing for our kids, we must try and stop teenagers taking up cigarettes in the first place. Because without a significant change thousands of children will start smoking in the coming years and have their lives cut short as a result."

    The incremental year-by-year ban would eventually mean there are no legal smokers left in the UK. Sunak said it would mean that people currently aged 14 or below will never be able to legally purchase cigarettes.

    The proposal will be put to a "free vote" in Parliament, according to the PM, meaning MPs will be able to decide without party whips telling them where to place their ballots.

    It comes as part of the Government's commitment to make England "smokefree" by 2030. "Smokefree" is defined as fewer than 5% of the population using cigarettes.

    Sunak also expressed concerns about the rise of vaping among children, proposing "measures to restrict" their use. He said: "We must act before it becomes endemic, so we will also bring forward measures to restrict the availability of vapes to our children, looking at flavours, packaging displays and disposable vapes."

    Another bombshell announcement was the scrapping of the Birmingham to Manchester leg of HS2. He promised that the "every penny" of the £36million saved will be invested into new transport projects in the North and the Midlands.

    The proposed high speed links between Euston and Birmingham, and Liverpool and Manchester, will remain. He also promised: "Journey times will be cut between Manchester, Birmingham, London by 30 minutes."

    Sunak's Government will also propose new legislation to ensure "sadistic" killers spend the rest of their lives in prison. He said: "I can confirm that we will legislate for sexual and sadistic murders to carry a full life term with no prospect of release.

    "We are going to change this country and that means life means life. Now that shouldn’t be a controversial position, the vast majority of hard-working people agree with it."

    Changes also look to be on the way for the education sector. New plans will see A-Levels and T-Levels brought together under a new, combined single qualification – the Advanced British Standard. The plans will also mean all children study Maths and English until 18. Sixth form students will be required to take five subjects rather than three.

    Sunak added that the Government put an end to university courses that "do nothing" for the lives of students. He said: "This assumption that the only route to success was the university route was one of the great mistakes of the last 30 years. It led to thousands of young people being ripped off by degrees that did nothing to increase their employability or earnings potential."

    The PM went on to double down on his support for Ukraine. He said: "I say to our allies – if we give President Zelenskyy the tools, the Ukrainians will finish the job… Slava Ukraine."

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    • Conservative Party
    • Smoking
    • Cancer
    • Rishi Sunak

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