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The government has voted in favour of the Tobacco and Vapes Bill.

In its Second Reading, the Bill passed by 383 votes to 67, despite criticisms from Conservative MPs who voted against it.

The plan to introduce the generational smoking ban was announced by the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at the Conservative Party Conference in October 2023.

Under the proposed legislation, anyone born in or after 2009 will never be able to buy tobacco products legally. The legislation also introduces £100 on-the-spot fines for traders found to be selling tobacco or vape products to underage people.

New Zealand planned to introduce similar legislation but repealed it in 2023. The UK legislation still has to pass several steps but it is expected to become law before the next general election.

There are also provisions to restrict flavours and packaging of vape products to make them less appealing to children along with a tax on vape liquids.

The plans have attracted criticism over consumer freedoms and potential to fuel the illicit trade. Recent Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association research found that 80% of UK smokers had purchased illicit tobacco in the past year, up 6% on the previous year.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Responsible Vaping also warned that banning vape flavours could undermine their usage as a smoking cessation method.

Workers union USDAW welcomed the intention of the legislation but urged the government to protect shopworkers that would have to enforce it.

General secretary Paddy Lillis said: “USDAW supports the intention of the Tobacco and Vapes Bill and we recognise the health benefits that it can bring. However, the Government cannot ignore the very real dangers for shopworkers in verifying a customer’s age and enforcing the law. This will become increasing difficult in the decades to come, as tobacco products will be illegal to purchase by people in their 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond.”