Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Act

In October 2021 the Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Act was passed. This law makes it illegal for under-18s in England to access Botox or fillers for cosmetic reasons. This Bill follows the Nuffield Council on Bioethics report Cosmetic procedures: ethical issues. I was on the Working Party that produced that report. It recommended (amongst many other things) that children and young people under the age of 18 should not be able to access cosmetic procedures, other than in the context of multidisciplinary healthcare.

Since publication of this report the Nuffield Council (of which I am a member) have made a sustained effort to follow up our recommendations, and secured meetings with Department of Health and Social Care Ministers that were influential in prompting this new legislation. The Council continued Parliamentary engagement throughout the passage of the Bill (for example, I gave evidence to the Women & Equalities Select Committee) and the report was referenced numerous times in the Second Reading in the House of Lords, and included in the House of Commons Library briefing for MPs.

The new law comes amidst pressure on the Government to take stronger action to regulate Botox and fillers amongst the whole population – another recommendation made in our report. I gave evidence on the Council’s behalf to the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing to push this issue forward, and they published recommendations for Government in July which mirrored some of the Council’s.

The Nuffield Council published a statement to welcome the new law, saying:

“We are delighted that our work to promote ethical practice within the cosmetic procedures industry has contributed to this new law which prevents people from giving Botox or cosmetic fillers on a walk-in basis to children and young people under 18. We feel strongly that children and young people should not be able to access any form of cosmetic procedures other than in the context of multidisciplinary healthcare, and would urge further action to broaden the restrictions to all types of cosmetic procedures.”

You can read the bill here.