Generation Z, Tobacco Free?

smoking-dude-photo-by-michiel-s.jpg

Michael Ransom, Contributing EditorLast Modified: 11:45 p.m. DST, 8 July 2014

Butts2, Photo by Dave Hull UNITED KINGDOM -- Could the generation born after the year 2000 be the first generation in the Western world to be cigarette free? Doctors throughout the United Kingdom are hoping so.

The British Medical Association (BMA) has voted in favor of a law that would ban the sale of cigarettes to the newest generations, while grandfathering-in older age groups, who would still have legal access to the tobacco product.

The effort is extremely controversial, and would effectively signal the beginning of the end of cigarette production. The curbed cigarette consumer market would continue to age, and cigarette companies would slowly close up shop.

But, could this move have negative consequences? Many people are saying so. With any sort of prohibition, such as the alcohol prohibition in United States during the 1920s and 30s, people do not give up habits and addictions overnight in response to the legal status of the product in question.

Some groups are warning that this measure could backfire, and tobacco sales could explode on the black market. And in these underground markets, there would be no way to deny cigarette sales to minors.

Critics claim that youth smoking rates could actually increase, maybe even by drastic proportions. But this fear is not enough to change the recent strategy of the BMA. If the British Parliament agrees with this prestigious medical organization's take on nicotine addiction, then serious changes could be forthcoming.

The BMA does not recommend the prohibition without some quantitative backing. The association of doctors cite a study in which two out of every three people interviewed wished they had not begun smoking in the first place. According to the BMA, the proposed initiative could help Generation Z avoid the deadly habit, before they pick up their first cigarette.

Follow Michael on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report Contributing Editor: @MAndrewRansom