New Zealand bans future generations from buying tobacco under new laws

SYDNEY: Future generations of New Zealanders will be banned from buying tobacco as part of a package of new anti-smoking laws that have been passed parliament Tuesday and are among the strictest in the world.
The suite of new laws include bans on selling tobacco to anyone born on or after January 1, 2009, subject to fines of up to NZ$150,000 ($95,910). The ban will remain in place for a person’s lifetime.
The legislation will also reduce the amount of nicotine allowed in smoked tobacco products and reduce the number of retailers able to sell tobacco by 90%.
“This legislation accelerates progress towards a smoke-free future,” said the Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall said in a statement.
“Thousands of people will live longer and healthier lives and the healthcare system will gain $5 billion by not having to treat diseases caused by smoking, such as many types of cancer, heart attacks, strokes, amputations.”
Retailers licensed to sell tobacco will drop from 6,000 to 600 by the end of 2023.
Already having one of the lowest adult smoking rates among the 38 countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, New Zealand is further tightening smoke-free laws as part of a government campaign to make the country “smoke-free” by 2025.
Only Bhutan, which banned the sale of cigarettes in 2010, will have stricter anti-smoking laws.
The number of New Zealand adults who smoke has halved over the past decade to 8%, and 56,000 quit smoking last year. OECD data shows that 25% of French adults smoked in 2021.
Verrall said the legislation would help close the gap in life expectancy between Maori and non-Maori citizens, which can be as high as 25% for women.
ACT New Zealand, which holds ten of the 120 seats in parliament, condemned the law, saying it would kill small shops and force people into the black market.
“No one wants to see people smoking, but the reality is that some will. And the banning of the nanny state from work is going to cause problems, ”said the deputy chief Brooke van Velden.


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