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Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie backs smoking ban

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The UK government’s plan to ban anyone in the UK born after 2009 from buying cigarettes is a good policy, insists Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie.

During a speech in the debate on the Tobacco and Vapes Bill this week, she said Gloucestershire health experts had written to her in support of the bill’s measures because they would save lives.

“Like many, I am intuitively against banning things and state interventions [but] I see the Bill as an opportunity to change the life chances and the life course of thousands of children in the Stroud district, with my two little girls included in the mix,” she told MPs.

“It is not perfect, but it enhances the chance for their little lungs and healthy bodies to grow up to be strong adults.

“When we know that smoking cigarettes is addictive, expensive and limits life chances, particularly for the poorest, why should we accept the status quo and hope for a natural evolution? We know that smoking affects life opportunities and that youngsters are still smoking, despite everything we have done so far and those awful pictures on cigarette packs. When we know all of that, why would we not want to do more?”

“I view the measures in this Bill as part of a genuinely bold and preventive strategy that we have not seen before.” 

She then added: “A note to the self-proclaimed freedom fighters: we all love freedom, but addicts are not free. They have very limited choices. Two thirds of those who try smoking will go on to continue to smoke for the rest of their lives.

She said the letter from Gloucestershire experts like Dr Charlie Sharp, Deborah Lee, Dr Richard Makins, Sheema Rahman and Professor Mark Pietroni had said the legislation was needed, and proportionate and would help 26,000 tobacco dependent households in the county – many of them deprived.

It then explained, ‘This legislation has the potential to avoid the 4,653 hospital admissions and 690 premature deaths in Gloucestershire which occur as a result of smoking’.

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