Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has published a modelling analysis by YouGov, which demonstrated majority support for phasing out the sale of tobacco in every constituency in England, Scotland and Wales.

The multi-level modelling and post-stratification (MRP) analysis was carried out using a national survey of over 13,000 respondents.

The analysis based on the constituencies in the forthcoming general election found levels of support ranging between 57 per cent and 74 per cent.

Which constituencies had the highest levels of support?

The highest level of support, 74 per cent, was found in Keir Starmer’s constituency of Holborn and St Pancras.

Other party leaders' constituencies also showed strong support. Seventy-two per cent of Rishi Sunak’s constituents in Richmond and Northallerton supported the policy.

Seventy-one per cent of constituents in Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey’s constituency of Kingston and Surbiton. All three leaders have backed the legislation.

In SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn’s constituency of Aberdeen South, 67 per cent support the legislation. In Dwyfor Meirionnydd, Plaid Cymru Westminster group leader Liz Saville Roberts’ constituency, 67 per cent are supportive.

Public support

The average across Great Britain was 69 per cent support and 12 per cent oppose (19 per cent DK/Neither support nor oppose). Support for the policy is high among voters of all parties and people from all social backgrounds and ages, and most smokers also support it (52 per cent support, 24 per cent oppose).

Two-thirds of children aged 11-15 (67 per cent) supported the policy. This will be the first generation to be affected by the policy. It is planned to come into effect from January 1, 2027, so tobacco can never legally be sold to anyone aged 15 or under in 2024.

In Spring 2023, before the prime minister announced the policy, there was already majority support for the idea in principle (57 per cent support; 14 per cent oppose). Support in 2024 for the specific proposals put forward by the government was ten points higher (67 per cent), with opposition eight points lower (six per cent).

Among adults, opposition is also limited. Even in the constituency with the lowest level of support, North East Cambridgeshire, with 57 per cent, the opposition was only 14 per cent.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive at ASH, said, “Whether red, blue, yellow or green, the public support for the ban on sale of tobacco to anyone born after 2008 is black and white. This enormously popular public health measure could put our country in pole position to be the first nation to end smoking.

“This legislation is vital for the future of our children, as it will protect them from vaping as well as smoking. The incoming government, whoever they are, must commit to bringing it back as a priority when they announce their legislative programme in the King’s speech.”

Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said, “Public support to raise the age of sale for tobacco is strong. All political parties must commit to introducing the new law in their manifestos. At the first King’s Speech, whoever wins the election must re-introduce the bill, pass it swiftly through parliament, and implement it so that we can start to reap the benefits of a smokefree future.

“The message from people affected by cancer, health professionals and campaigners is loud and clear: we must take action to prevent future generations from a potential lifetime of addiction and disease and reduce cancer deaths.”