New Zealand announced Thursday that it would move to ban young people from ever smoking tobaccoThe country is gradually eliminating access to cigarettes in order to create a new generation.
The plan is meant to eventually see the country create what officials called the first legislated “smoke-free generation” and particularly target Māori, Pacific Islander and low-income communities.
“This is a historic day for the health of our people,” Dr. Ayesha Verrall, the country’s associate minister of health, said in a speech Thursday. “We want to make sure young people never start smoking so we will make it an offense to sell or supply smoked tobacco products to new cohorts of youth.”
“People aged 14 when the law comes into effect will never be able to legally purchase tobacco,” she continued.
Stuff.co.nz mentions that certain parts of this plan are possible to be modified. passed without legislationBut, others may require amends which are anticipated to be adopted next year.
Officials estimate that between 4,500 and 5,000 Kiwis will die each year from smoking-related causes.
It legislationIt will in effect increase the smoking age by increasing it every year from the day that the law goes into force. New Zealand has an 18-year-old legal smoking age. This would mean that any person born after 31 December 2004 will not be legally allowed to smoke tobacco products.
It will also be possible to reduce the use and sale of cigarettes among older Kiwis. This will happen gradually so that the community can adjust.
New Zealand has approximately 8,000 tobacco retailers. But, the new rules will reduce that figure to only 500. By 2025, only cigarettes with low nicotine levels will be available to those that aren’t prohibited under the law.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation noted the law would make New Zealand’s tobacco industry one of the most regulatedIt is the second largest country in the world (behind Bhutan) that has banned all sales of cigarettes.
Verrall claimed that the plan could save $5 billion on future healthcare expenditures. However, it was already prompting. backlash amongSome business owners. The minister added that those who lose income from tobacco sales won’t be compensated for any losses and stressed the government would need to work diligently to prevent the rise of a black market.
“Smoking is still the leading cause of preventable death in New Zealand and causes one in four cancers,” she said Thursday. “While smoking rates are heading in the right direction, we need to do more, faster to reach our goal. If nothing changes, it would be decades till Māori smoking rates fall below 5%, and this government is not prepared to leave people behind.”