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Stopping the Start: stopping people taking up smoking and tackling youth vaping - have your say

The Government is currently asking for views on a range of new measures that will help to create a smokefree generation and tackle youth vaping. Help us to develop a County Durham response.

What's the latest?

We received 267 responses from the general public to our survey - thank you to all those who took part. We also engaged with schools, young people's services, trading standards, NHS Trusts and local stop smoking services to pull together a combined County Durham response to the government's consultation.

Our full council passed a motion to support the government's 'Stopping the Start' proposals at its meeting on 6 December 2023 and we have responded to the consultation. You can read more in the council supports plans for a smokefree generation press release. We are awaiting a response from government on their consultation.


'Stopping the Start' is a series of government proposals to stop people starting to smoke, which, if agreed, will help to create the first smokefree generation and to tackle youth vaping.

The majority of people in County Durham do not smoke, however, there are still around 65,000 smokers living across the County. The new proposals are aiming to 'Stop the Start' by creating a smokefree generation.

Smoking remains the single largest cause of preventable deaths in England, with smoking killing up to two out of every three long term users. The harms of smoking fall on the poorest and most vulnerable people within society. 

For smokers, vaping is a far less risky option, and in the short and medium term, vaping poses a small fraction of the risks of smoking and can be effective in helping people quit. Vaping is not risk free however and those who do not smoke, should not vape. Vaping is not for children.

We need to offer effective quitting options, including vaping, while protecting children from nicotine.

The Government consultation

They are currently asking for views in three areas that the law would cover:

  1. Creating a smokefree generation: making it an offence to sell tobacco products to anyone born on or after 1 January 2009. The law would stop children aged 14 or younger in 2023 from ever legally being sold tobacco products. This would, in effect, raise the smoking age by a year, each year, until it applies to the whole population.
  2. Tackling youth vaping: building on the information gathering on youth vaping, they propose to:
    • restrict vape flavours
    • regulate vape packaging and product presentation
    • regulate point of sale displays
    • restrict the supply and sale of disposable vapes
    • explore further restrictions for non-nicotine vapes and other nicotine consumer products such as nicotine pouches
    • consider the price of vapes, including a new duty on vapes
    • ban free samples of vapes to under 18s
    • introduce an age restriction on the sale of non-nicotine vapes
  3. Enforcement: the consultation also looks at new powers for local councils to issue fixed penalty notices (fines) for illegal sales

A County Durham response

We developed a countywide response to the Government's consultation. To help support our response, we wanted to gauge local support for the three government proposals: creating a smokefree generation, tackling youth vaping and additional powers for local councils to issue fixed penalty notices (fines).

We were particularly interested in hearing from children and young people, parents and carers, teachers and existing smokers.

Have your say

Our survey closed at 5.00pm on Thursday 23 November 2023.