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Reuters: UK PM Sunak Proposes Cigarette Ban for Younger Generations

Article published: October 4, 2023

IB Economics Syllabus: Microeconomics (Demand and Supply, Government Intervention, Negative Externalities)

The UK’s recent proposal, led by Prime Minister Sunak, to ban cigarettes for younger generations has sparked significant debate both domestically and internationally. The primary objective behind this move is to safeguard the health of the youth, but it also brings to light the balance between individual freedom and public health. While health advocates applaud the initiative, there are concerns about its impact on the tobacco industry and potential rise in black market activity. Sunak’s proposal also hints at a broader strategy to reduce negative externalities associated with smoking, such as health costs and environmental impact.

IB Economics (IA) Commentary Suggestions:

This article discusses the government’s choice to ban cigarettes and its impact on the market. By looking into how this decision influences the demand for cigarettes, you can get a clearer picture of its effects. It’s essential to consider how this ban will affect both the companies that make cigarettes and the people who buy them. To visualize these market changes, use a negative externality of consumption diagram. In your explanation, make sure that you clearly explain the external costs associated with smoking and that you explain why this represents market failure. The key concepts to focus on here could be efficiency or intervention.

Source of image: REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

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