New Zealand, a step closer to outlawing cigarettes

The country is expecting to be smoke-free by 2025.

New Zealand has announced that there have been proposals to ban smoking for the next generation and reach a goal of being smoke-free by 2025.

An increase in the legal smoking age, particularly a ban on the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products to people born after 2004, would make smoking illegal for that generation.

“We need a new approach,” said Associate Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall, upon announcing the changes. “About 4,500 New Zealanders die every year from tobacco, and we need to make accelerated progress to be able to reach that goal [of Smokefree 2025]. Business-as-usual without a tobacco control program won’t get us there.”

The country is also considering a reduction in the level of nicotine in tobacco products, setting a base price for tobacco, and restricting the places where cigarettes are sold.

Public health organisations welcomed this proposal. “This proposal goes beyond assisting people to quit,” Cancer Society chief executive Lucy Elwood said in a statement. She said that the number of tobacco retailers was higher in low-income communities, resulting in higher smoking rates in these areas.

“These glaring inequities are why we need to protect future generations from the harms of tobacco,” Elwood said. “Tobacco is the most harmful consumer product in history and needs to be phased out.”

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