WREXHAM'S MP has explained her decision to vote against the government's flagship smoking ban.

Earlier this week, the House of Commons voted by 383 to 67 in favour of the prime minister’s plan to make it illegal for anyone born in 2009 or later to buy tobacco products in the UK.

The legislation would effectively ban smoking for future generations by raising the legal age every year, with prime minister Rishi Sunak hoping to create a "smoke-free generation".

The bill will now be considered and potentially amended by MPs, before also going through scrutiny in the House of Lords.

Conservative MPs were given a free vote in the Commons, meaning they were allowed to oppose the government if they wished without facing repercussions.


Among the 57 Tory MPs to vote against it was Wrexham MP Sarah Atherton. 

Explaining her decision, she said: "I am not a smoker, but I have family members who smoke and vape. We all know that smoking is damaging for our health.

"It is the duty of Government to educate and inform, not to enforce or limit choice. Although I would support further focus being placed on health promotion and deterrence, banning smoking will result in unintended consequences. People should be given the tools to take personal responsibility for their lifestyle choices.

"Beyond this, we have learnt from many examples throughout history that banning something rarely leads to the desired aim, but instead, it opens up an unregulated black market which is susceptible to exploitation."

She added: "It can be the Government’s duty to educate and inform our citizens about healthy lifestyle choices, but never to impinge on them, damaging responsibility and personal freedom in the process. 

"Ultimately, the Government should support people in their lives, not limit their lives."