BGS welcomes Prime Minister’s plans to ban smoking within a generation

25 October 2023

On 4 October the Prime Minister announced plans to ban smoking within a generation in his speech at the Conservative Party conference.

The Prime Minister proposed to raise the smoking age by one year, every year with immediate effect – meaning that those currently aged 14 would never be able to legally smoke.

The move has been applauded by the UK’s four Chief Medical Officers.

Smoking is an important contributor to diseases of later life. Smoking predicts future heart disease, lung disease, skin disease, vascular brain disease, dementia and frailty. It is a risk factor for osteoporosis and fragility fractures.

BGS President, Professor Adam Gordon, said:

Population ageing is a success story. The majority of people lead healthy lives into old age. Frailty, the state of vulnerability that for many people is associated with growing old, can be prevented if people make the right lifestyle choices. Smoking is one of the most important avoidable risk factors for frailty. The important initiative by the Prime Minister, a de facto ban on smoking for those aged 14 and under, is a paradigm shift in health promotion. It will protect children my daughter’s age from heart disease and cancer – but it will also reduce the risk that they will grow frail as they grow old. This is something we all should welcome.”