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UK Doctors Push Cigarette Ban For All Born After 2000

Advocates of the ban say the UK could be the first country to eradicate cigarettes, but opponents say it will simply create a new black market.

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By Bryan Le

06/25/14

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Doctors in the United Kingdom are pushing to permanently ban cigarette sales to everyone born after the year 2000. On Tuesday, the British Medical Association (BMA) passed the motion at their annual representatives' meeting and will subsequently put their entire weight behind lobbying for their ban.

Tim Crocker-Buque, the specialist registrar in public health medicine who proposed the ban, said that this could be a chance for the UK to be the first nation to completely eradicate cigarettes.

"Smoking is not a rational, informed choice of adulthood," he said. "Eighty percent of smokers start as teenagers as a result of intense peer pressure...Smokers who start smoking at age 15 are three times as likely to die of smoking-related cancer as someone who starts in their mid-20s."

Surprisingly, however, the move is not fully supported by all doctors. "Seeking a headline ban is a headline-grabbing initiative that may lead to ridicule of the profession," said Birmingham doctor, Yohanna Takwoingi, who added that if the Association followed such a line of reasoning they should ban alcohol as well.

"Tobacco is not the same as alcohol and prohibition will not work in the same way," said Crocker-Buque in response. "The vast majority of people who use alcohol do safely."

Others are concerned that the ban could create an cigarette black market that could harm even more people than legalized cigarettes do. Simon Clark, spokesman for smokers' group Forest, called the proposed ban "arbitrary, unenforceable and completely illiberal."

The BMA previously had success in lobbying bans for smoking in public places and smoking in cars carrying children.

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