Giles Watling MP has today called for constituents, businesses, and stakeholders to get in touch with his office to share their thoughts on the Prime Minister's proposed changes to smoking legislation.
Under the PM's plans, the smoking age would be raised by one year every year, so that children who turn 14 this year - or younger - will never be able to buy cigarettes legally in the UK.
Writing to constituents, Mr Watling said:
"I am writing regarding the proposed changes to smoking laws i.e. increasing the smoking age by 1 year, each year going forward.
This will be a free vote in parliament. I welcome this and applaud the Prime Minister for allowing a conscience vote. As of writing, I am not sure when a final vote will take place.
I am launching an engagement exercise because I genuinely wish to hear as many local views as possible. I want to hear the thoughts and ideas that come from consumers, businesses, the NHS and others as I form my view. This will impact my constituents, people’s jobs as well as doctors waiting rooms - I wish to hear from you as I form a considered view. Such things should not be done in a hasty manner.
People who know me know that I am naturally quite opposed to “bans” - I tend to side with arguments defending personal liberty and individual responsibility. However, I certainly understand the harm that smoking causes to the individual and the terrible burden it puts on the NHS.
With regards to vapes, again, I don’t like bans and I do see their value in offering a safer alternative to smoking. However, I am worried they are a gateway habit for children and that the disposable vapes are an ecological nightmare. This is an area where tighter control is certainly required.
Please take the time to offer your opinion via firstname.lastname@example.org"
Constituents are encouraged to get in touch ahead of any proposed votes.