Ban sale of cigarettes to anyone born after 2000, doctors say

This article originally appeared in the Daily Telegraph, March 26, 2014

Doctors call for complete ban on the sale of cigarettes to anyone born in this century to curb smoking-related deaths

Leading doctors have called for a ban on cigarette sales to those born after 2000 in a programme of “progressive prohibition” aimed at curbing smoking-related deaths.

They urged the British Medical Association to lobby for a complete ban on the sale of cigarettes to anyone born in this century at the body’s annual public health medicine conference.

Tim Crocker-Buqué, a specialist registrar in public health medicine with the NHS, said: “Humanity has never developed anything more deadly than the cigarette.

“The combination of its addictive power and devastating health effects combined with historical social norms and powerful advertising campaigns killed 100 million people in the 20th century.”

Dr Crocker-Buqué said eight out of 10 smokers began smoking as teenagers and someone who began smoking at 15 was three times more likely to die from smoking-related cancer than someone who started in their 20s. “This is a highly addictive product that kills 50 per cent of the users and it is so patently over the balance of harm that we must now work to prevent the next generation from falling into the nicotine trap,” he added.

Mark Temple, a co-chairman of the BMA’s public health medicine committee, agreed, adding: “If we prevent access to a group that is growing older through time then gradually we will stop easy access to tobacco products.”

But Ian Kennedy, another public health medicine registrar, questioned if banning cigarettes for a certain section of the population was a sustainable policy, and asked why 13 to 14-year-olds were being targeted.

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