A MAJOR public health intervention which will prevent youngsters from buying cigarettes and vapes has been backed by a Barnsley MP who hopes the move will reduce the town’s rising addiction rates.

A vote on the Tobacco and Vapes Bill took place in Parliament on Tuesday, which makes it an offence to sell tobacco-based products to anyone born on or after January 1, 2009.

It also aims to make vapes less appealing to children after recent figures showed the number using e-cigs in the past three years has tripled in Barnsley, with 20.5 per cent of children aged between 11 and 17 having tried vaping in 2023.

Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis voted for the bill’s implementation, as did fellow Labour MP for Wentworth and Dearne John Healey, but the town’s other representatives - Barnsley East’s Stephanie Peacock and Penistone and Stocksbridge’s Miriam Cates - did not vote.

A total of 380 MPs voted for its implementation while 66 voted against.

Dan said: “As a long-standing campaigner for cancer charities I know just how harmful smoking and vaping at an early age can be.

“That is why I support the Tobacco and Vapes Bill, which will make it an offence to sell tobacco products to children born after January 1, 2009, and reduce the availability of vapes to our children.

“The benefits of doing this are clear and include reducing pressure on our NHS, cutting costs for the taxpayer, protecting young people from a lifetime of addiction and addressing the biggest preventable killer in the UK, which is smoking.”

A key part of the anti-vaping legislation is restricting the amount of flavours available, making advertising in shops less prominent and clamping down on sellers who opt to sell illicit substances as a result of more stringent measures coming into force.

Posters in schools, colleges and high footfall areas such as Barnsley Interchange have been placed which highlight the facts about vaping and e-cigarettes, helping parents, carers and young people understand the risks, according to a council report.

Anna Hartley, executive director for public health and communities, added: “Anything unnatural that lungs are exposed to is a concern but the rise in youngsters vaping is an issue we want to take action on.

“In Barnsley we’re committed to making sure everyone in our communities can get the support they need to live happier, healthier, longer lives.

“It has been great to share what our teams and partners are doing to support our communities and make smoking and vaping invisible.

“We have an unwavering commitment to safeguarding public health and fostering informed decision-making.

“It serves a valuable reminder of how by working together, we’re creating the change we want to see locally and nationally.”

Ministers said that while vaping can play a ‘useful role’ in helping adult smokers to quit, non-smokers and children have been warned against picking up the habit due to long-term health impacts being unknown.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Victoria Atkins, said: “Too many people know someone whose life has been tragically cut short or irreversibly changed because of smoking, which despite significant progress remains the UK’s biggest preventable killer.

“The truth is that there is no safe level of tobacco consumption.

“It is uniquely harmful and that is why we are taking this important action today to protect the next generation.

“This bill will save lives, ease the strain on our NHS and improve productivity.”