Will a "lifetime smoking ban" become law in the UK before the next General Election after July 2024?

In 2023, Rishi Sunak announced that he will be putting forward legislation for a "lifetime smoking ban". This would mean that the age for buying cigarettes will rise by one year every year and that anyone born after a cutoff date (proposed to be 1st January 2009) will never be able to legally buy cigarettes.

This legislation was presented to Parliament as the Tobacco and Vapes Bill 2024:


In the previous market on this subject, we thought that it was looking pretty certain that the generational smoking ban would become law during Sunak's time as Prime Minister, but this became impossible once he called a general election for July:


The bill passed its second Commons reading comfortably despite some noisy opposition from the libertarian wing of Sunak's party.

The legislative process would need to start from scratch with a new government, but the bill had plenty of support from Labour so there is every reason to think that the next government will reintroduce this legislation.

To become law, the legislation will have to clear three hurdles:

  • Pass the House of Commons

  • Pass the House of Lords

  • Receive Royal Assent (this should be a formality)

Will it pass all three hurdles before the next general election after 4th July 2024? This is expected to be in 2028 or 2029.

If the legislation is modified or amended so that the permanent automatic ramping up isn't in place to take the smoking age up to at least 50 without further legislation (eg. the legislation only lasts for a few years and then needs further legislation or the automatic ratcheting up only goes up to 30 rather than 50+), this market will resolve to NO

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