The UK government will create a “smoke-free generation” by ending cigarette sales to those born on or after 1 January 2009.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has revealed plans to introduce a new law to stop children who turn 14 this year or younger from ever legally being sold cigarettes in England.

In a statement on the Government website, Mr Sunak says the new legislation will protect “future generations of young people from the harms of smoking” and save both “tens of thousands of lives” and the NHS billions of pounds.

These changes amount to one of the most significant public health interventions by the government in a generation. Smoking is the UK’s biggest preventable killer – causing around 1 in 4 cancer deaths and 64,000 in England alone – costing the economy and wider society £17 billion each year.

The statement also clarifies that smoking will not be criminalised, and anyone who can legally buy cigarettes now will not be prevented from doing so in future.

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