The Cheshire and Merseyside DsPH have supported Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and provided a quote in their press release on the Government’s plans to create a smokefree generation. The release covers a recent poll that shows 70% of people in the North West support the Prime Minister’s plans to raise the age of sale so that it will never be legal to sell tobacco to anyone born after the start of 2009. This was a national survey of English adults and 429 of them were from the North West. Read the full press release below.
A new YouGov poll for Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) shows 70% of people in the North West 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. This was a national survey of English adults and 429 of them were from the North West.
Nationally the policy is backed by 74% of those who intend to vote Conservative at the next election, 72% of those who intend to vote Labour and 65% if those intending to vote Lib Dem. 
The poll comes with one week 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 68% of the public in the North West.
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.”
Bob Blackman CBE, MP for Harrow East and Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health said:
“No one wants to see children start smoking which is why support for this policy is so high across the political spectrum. As MPs we see the impact smoking has in our communities and many of us have experience in our own lives too. For me this is deeply personal. My late mother was only 47 when she died of lung and throat cancer, and was a very heavy smoker for most of her life.”
Professor Matthew Ashton, Chair of the Champs Public Health Collaborative Directors of Public Health Board, said:
“As Directors of Public Health in Cheshire and Merseyside, we are extremely concerned about the harmful effects of smoking and have been advocating for changes in legislation for some time. We have also strongly called for measures to reduce access to vapes for those who don’t smoke and we particularly support interventions to deter young people from vaping. Every year, thousands of people die in our region as a direct result of tobacco consumption. We know that most smokers start young, regret ever starting and then struggle to quit. While we will continue to support those people who want to quit, we must break the cycle of our children and young people becoming addicted to tobacco. This poll shows overwhelming support from the public for raising the age of sale and we must ensure that the proposed legislation is made a reality. We would urge people to make it a priority to respond to the Government’s consultation and help protect our children and young people from harm.”
Cllr David Fothergill, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:
“Smoking remains one of the leading causes of preventable ill health, disability, and death in England.
“The UK is taking a significant step forward by considering raising the legal age of sale for tobacco products and councils want to support these efforts in any way they can.
“We believe this is a progressive piece of legislation that would undoubtedly impact on smoking prevalence, and ultimately reduce rates of smoking-related disease.”
Notes to the Editor
Action on Smoking and Health is a health charity working to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco use. For more information see: www.ash.org.uk/about-ash . ASH receives funding for its programme of work from Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive, Hazel Cheeseman Deputy Chief Executive, are available for media interviews. Please contact email@example.com.
 All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 3,533 adults of which 429 were from the North West. 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+).