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Smoking bill split MPs

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
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Smoking bill split MPs

THE region’s MPs are not fully on board with the UK Government’s plans to introduce the world’s only generational smoking ban.

MPs last week voted to pass the new smoking and vaping bill at the first hurdle in Parliament, which the government says will protect children and create the UK’s first “smoke-free generation”.

The bill prevents anyone born after January 1 2009 from purchasing tobacco products, and it also aims to make vapes less appealing to children.

However, critics argue that the smoking ban denies young people the right to make their own decisions when they become adults.

This is a sticking point for both Dumfries and Galloway MP Alister Jack and David Mundell, MP for Dumfriesshire.

Mr Jack abstained from the vote, just like more than 100 of MPs who either abstained or were absent in parliament.

A spokesman for Mr Jack said: “This was a free vote and Mr Jack chose to abstain. He believes that adults should be able to choose whether to use tobacco or not.”

Meanwhile, Mr Mundell voted in favour of the bill at this early stage, with more debate and votes still to come on it.

He said: “I voted for this bill at stage two on the basis that I think that vaping needs to be more regulated, although I do have concerns about the smoking provisions in what is being proposed.”

Rishi Sunak’s controversial bill was passed through the House of Commons last Tuesday as Labour threw their weight behind it.

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