December 14, 2021 - 4:42 pm

New Zealand To Ban Cigarettes For Future Generations

    In a bid to create a smoke-free generation, New Zealand will ban young people (anyone born after 2008) from ever buying cigarettes in in their lifetime, one of the toughest approaches in the world to curbing smoking deaths as part of a wider plan that focuses on the disproportionate impact on its indigenous Maori population. In one of the world's toughest crackdowns all the tobacco industry, arguing that other efforts to extinguish smoking were taking too long. New Zealand is already one of 17 countries where plain cigarette packaging is compulsory.

    People aged 14 and under in 2027 will never be allowed to purchase cigarettes in the Pacific country of 5 million. The ban will remain in place for the rest of the person's life. That means a person aged 60 in 2073 will be banned from buying cigarettes while a person aged 61 would be allowed to do so. Currently, 11.6% of all New Zealanders aged over 15 smokes, a proportion that rises to 29% among indigenous Maori adults. The restriction would be rolled out in stages from 2024, beginning with a sharp reduction in the number of authorised sellers, followed by reduced nicotine requirements in 2025 and the creation of the "smoke-free" generation from 2027. The new rules would have the country's smoking rates in as few as 10 years from when they take effect.

    Health industry welcomed the crackdown, while retailers expressed concern about the impact on their businesses and warned of the emergence of a black market. New Zealand's retail tobacco industry is already among the most restricted in the world - just after Bhutan, which has a complete ban on cigarette sales. The government did not give specifics about how the new rules would be policed or whether and how they would apply to visitors to the country.

    Cigarette smoking kills 14 new zealanders every day and two out of three smokers will die as a result of smoking. The government compelled itself to take tougher steps to achieve its goal. The government wants to introduce the changes in phases to lessen the economic shock on retailers and give people with mental health issues - a group with far higher smoking rates - time to manage the change. The plan is set to be introduced into parliament in June next year as the government aims to get it signal into law by the end of 2022.