As it turns out, the United States won’t be alone in countries that have monumental anti-tobacco legislation delayed due to a 2024 election.

A proposal in the United Kingdom that would have prevented anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 2009 from purchasing tobacco products has been delayed to the upcoming elections. The House of Commons unveiled a list of bills that it would take up before the U.K.’s parliament dissolves ahead of this summer’s elections, the generational tobacco ban was not included. Last month, the bill cleared a key vote in parliament, but barring a last-minute push to get the bill passed in the next 24 hours, it will have to wait at least until the next government takes over.

Despite opposition from many in his own party, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, leader of the Conservative party, pushed for the passage of the bill, known as a generational tobacco ban, as it would ban future generations from legally purchasing tobacco products. When the Tobacco and Vapes Bill was voted on last month, nearly 90 percent of the votes opposing it were from Conservative MPs.

Earlier this week, Sunak announced that the 2024 elections would take place on July 4. While the U.K. must hold elections by the end of January 2025, the move was seen as a surprise by many. Given that widespread polling data shows the Labour party leading the Conservatives by double digits, it is expected that the next prime minister will come from the Labour party.

A Labour win would only increase the chances that this bill will pass, though it remains to be seen how long that will take and whether the next government will introduce a different version of this bill or keep the text the same. In addition to banning the sale of tobacco products to anyone born after Jan. 1, 2009, the bill would make it illegal to sell or give anyone under the age of 18 any vaping products and allow for the Secretary of State to enact new vaping regulations. Furthermore, it would increase the penalties for those caught violating tobacco age restriction rules to include a maximum penalty of a one-year ban on selling tobacco and/or vaping products for businesses caught repeatedly violating the rules.

Sunak’s proposal followed a 2022 government report by Dr. Javed Khan that looked into the U.K.’s smoke-free 2030 plans and made various recommendations on how the government could achieve its goals for the 2030 targets, which were set in 2019. One of Khan’s recommendations was to simply prevent people from purchasing tobacco products by “increasing the age of sale from 18, by one year, every year until no one can buy a tobacco product in this country.”

New Zealand was the first country to introduce a generational tobacco ban, though less than a year after it passed, the country’s new government announced and followed through with plans to reverse course on the policy.

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Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I have written about the cigar industry for more than a decade, covering everything from product launches to regulation to M&A. In addition, I handle a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff here at halfwheel. I enjoy playing tennis, watching boxing, falling asleep to the Le Mans 24, wearing sweatshirts year-round and eating gyros. echte liebe.