World’s most dangerous product cigarettes caused ‘untold misery’ with 80,000 Brits dead every year

By Staff 5 Min Read

The link between smoking and cancer emerged in the post-war years, at a time when 82% of men and 41% of women smoked – but it would take decades for the message to sink in with the public

Cigarettes are the world’s most dangerous consumer product, killing 80,000 people in Britain every year.

Medics are demanding a historic phasing out of the only product which, if used as intended, will kill two-thirds of lifelong consumers. Prof Sanjay Agrawal, special adviser at the Royal College of Physicians, called last night’s vote “one of the most monumental health interventions in decades”.

Prof Lion Shahab, from University College London, said: “By creating a product that is both highly addictive and deadly, the tobacco industry has caused untold misery.”

The link between smoking and cancer emerged in the post-war years, at a time when 82% of men and 41% of women smoked. It would take decades for the message to sink in with the public, in the face of fierce rearguard action from big tobacco companies.

Yesterday’s landmark bill will make Britain the first country in the world to ban future generations from smoking.

Prof Shahab added: “The UK is at the very forefront of the fight to eradicate one of the most harmful inventions of modern times and allow the next generation to live a full life, unencumbered by preventable cancers and diseases.”

Proposals to prevent anyone born after January 1 2009 from legally buying cigarettes passed their second reading in the Commons by 383 votes to 67.

The Tobacco and Vaping Bill will mean anyone turning 15 years old this year or younger would be banned from buying tobacco products for life. It will also restrict colourful, disposable vapes that are getting youngsters hooked on nicotine and create new on-the-spot £100 fines for retailers who sell vapes to under-18s. Disposable vapes, which contain harmful lithium batteries, are also set to be banned from April 2025 under separate environmental legislation.

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