UK law change: now you gotta be 18 to buy cigarettes

For quite a long time, here in the UK, you’ve had to be at least 16 years old to buy cigarettes.  But from today, you have to be 18 or older.

The government have blandly commented that this just “harmonizes” the laws about alcohol and tobacco.  But that isn’t the point at all.  This Labour government, first under Tony Blair and now George Brown, has been consistently eroding our rights on what we can do to ourselves.  Anti-smoking legislation has been progressively more authoritarian – first of all, places that sold food had to provide “non-smoking” areas; then smoking was banned in all rtestaurants, cafes, and pubs that served food; next all places owned by the government or local authorities became no-smoking zones; and that was followed by a ban on smoking in all premises that were “open to the public”… including, I believe, private, members-only clubs!  Pubs can’t even offer a seperate room for smokers.  If you want to have a ciggie, you have to leave the pub and light up outside.  Many publicans realize that when the cold winter weather comes, a lot of smokers are not going to bother going out for a drink.  Having a cigarette with your pint is very pleasurable to smokers – indeed, when I have a drink, I really want a ciggie too.  I really really want a ciggie.

Pub landlords are talking of providing a “sheltered area” with porch heaters for smokers in the winter – but they have to be very careful what they provide, as the law is very strict: any “enclosed” area is by law a no-smoking zone. So anything set up outside the pub must be unenclosed – open and exposed to the elements… the rain, the cold…

So this latest move must be viewed in this light.  There are many teenagers who have legally been smoking from the age of 16, who are suddenly barred from buying cigarettes!  The government will cite “health reasons”, will say it’s for the youngsters’ “own good” – the kind of patronizing cant that often accompanies this kind of authoritarianism.  And these teenagers aren’t going to quit smoking just because of this law change.  Youths are rebellious by nature.  This legislation is going to criminalize thousands of 16 and 17 year olds, who will either try to buy cigarettes anyway, or who will loiter outside shops asking older customers to get them.

The UK government is getting more and more authoritarian… even totalitarian.  In the 10 years that they’ve ruled, we have lost countless rights.  And if we vote them out at the next general election… well, the Tories are dictatorial too.

I won’t vote for either party.  But my single vote isn’t going to make any difference anyway…

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16 Responses to UK law change: now you gotta be 18 to buy cigarettes

  1. Darmok says:

    The dangers of secondhand smoke are well-established. Smoking in enclosed public places such as businesses and government buildings causes considerable harm to bystanders, and as such, restricting it is easily ethically justifiable.

  2. M W Marcus says:

    I am a non-smoker, and as much as I agree with anti-smoking laws, even I think the government has gone too far with this last move. First they allow 16 year olds to get addicted, then immediately, with little warning, take away thier right to buy cigarettes.
    This should have been done in a stepped manner whereby the age should have been raised to 17 next year, then the year after to 18. Don’t the government realise they are affecting future voters? Maybe they don’t want the burden of screwing up the country any more, and are willing to leave it to the next bunch of clowns to try to sort out!!

  3. BB says:

    @ Darmok,

    “The dangers of secondhand smoke are well-established.”

    Ummm… no they’re not. What has been “well-established” is a global propaganda campaign against the tobacco industry, now extending to the demonisation of smokers.

    Search for the 1992 EPA Report and Judge Osteen’s rebuttals of it’s “cherry-picked” data. A report written to a pre-determined conclusion. This bogus, discredited study has formed the basis for those phantom “deaths from passive smoking” figures and has informed policymaking in many countries.

    Ask yourself why the WHO refused to publish the 1998 Boffeta report, after it found a statistically-significant risk-reduction through exposure to environmental tobacco-smoke. The Daily Telegraph were leaked a summary of this report, and published with the headline “Passive smoking doesn’t cause cancer. Official.” ASH sued… and lost.

    Ask yourself why the anti-smoking financiers of the longest-term study available on ETS, the Enstrom/Kabat study, refused to publish at all when made aware of the report’s conclusion that ETS posed no measurable risk.

    And then, if you’re still in any doubt on the matter, read about Sir Richard Doll and the regular payments he received from companies such as Monsanto, Turner and Newell [asbestos] and from the Chemical Mfrs Association. In each case he produced work clearing his paymasters of any legal blame for deaths which may otherwise have been attributed to industrial-pollution from these industries.

    From Breast Cancer Action:

    “But, what if the scientists on whom we rely have strong motivations to not point the finger at industrial pollution? To be quiet no matter what they see? Even to say out loud that industry’s practices are not the source of this epidemic? To say instead that we get cancer from bad habits (like smoking) and sloppy lifestyles—that it’s basically our own fault if cancer hits us?

    Would $1,000 a day for 20 years from one of those polluting industries be sufficient motivation to cast one’s scientific eye elsewhere? One of the world’s most famous cancer epidemiologists, Sir Richard Doll, struck just such a bargain with chemical giant Monsanto.”

  4. Phoenix says:

    “This should have been done in a stepped manner whereby the age should have been raised to 17 next year, then the year after to 18.” the best way, i feel, to have dealt with this, since they admit it is addictive, would be too allow those who turned 16 before the ban date, to still smoke. its the only effective way i can see, but then again, too much hastle for them, when they can just raise the age, and watch there flock of silent sheep accept it, and get back too giving them money.

  5. James says:

    iam an under age smoker i smoked when the law became 18 iam 16 now i started smoking when i was 15 the Goverment are Gay they don’t understand there fucking up the Tobacco law if this law stays the same its gonna introduce more voilence and more robberys off Tobacco just because its round the counter dosen’t mean its not easy to rob its simple in most stores theres 2 cigarette areas on the left and the right and the right corner is easier to steal from if there is only 1 employe working which will usally be on the left shelf all you have to do is make sure she’s destracted or he is destracted while there not looking take ur hand out take the cigarette shuv it in ur jacket and walk out its easy and simple and don’t worry about CCTV they never even check the cameras anyway.

  6. Eddy Cig says:

    Really great blog post! I am glad I found this post on Yahoo. I will be back soon.

  7. […] are now entering the United Kingdom: No Smoking! Unbelievable! First the British government banned smoking inside… now they want to ban smoking […]

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  15. Martin X says:

    I have a Twitter account, but I don’t tweet very often. Checking my email and facebook, and doing this blog, tend to take up too much of my time as it is (I’m supposed to be writing fiction, learning how to program… Twitter has been squeezed out I’m afraid.

  16. Martin X says:

    On a smoking/nicotine related topic: anyone tried those e-cigs, that (in the UK at least) it’s legal to “smoke” them in public places. No tobacco, therefore no carcinogens. It’s just nicotine and water vapour. You do get a reasonably realistic smoking-like experience, but when you exhale you get a bit of an aftertaste that’s not to my liking. But it allows nicotine addicts to go out without being treated like pariahs. I’ve tried Nicolites disposable e-cigs, and I have to say, they’re not too bad. About time a nicotine-delivery system that doesn’t involve carcinogens was made. Tobacco smoke is the real baddie; nicotine is addictive, but otherwise pretty harmless. And using e-cigs is cheaper than smoking cigarettes. Check em out.

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