The Logical Indian Crew

New Zealand To Become Tobacco-Free, Imposes World's First Lifetime Ban On Cigarettes For Youngsters

Under the new legislation passed by New Zealand, cigarettes would be much weaker and more difficult to buy. Through their vision of a "smoke-free future," the country is setting an example for the rest of the world.

The New Zealand parliament passed legislation on December 13 that will make it illegal for anyone born after 2008 to purchase cigarettes or tobacco products. This would significantly shrink the number of people who are legally able to buy tobacco each year. For instance, by the year 2050, even a 40-year-old would legally be too young to buy cigarettes. Health Minister Ayesha Verrall, who introduced the bill to the table, believes it would be a positive step "towards a smoke-free future".

Bringing Down Smoker's Graph

Under the new legislation passed by New Zealand, cigarettes would be much weaker and more difficult to buy. It would also be made permanently unavailable to anyone who is currently under 14 years old. It is designed in a manner that would immediately lower the number of people using tobacco products each year. The driving force behind the legislation, minister Ayesha Verrall, conveyed that this would significantly contribute to a "smoke-free future" in the country.

Currently, the nation's smoking rate is already at historic lows, with just about eight per cent of the adult population smoking regularly, as per government statistics released in November. With the Smokefree Environments Bill, the cabinet aims to reduce it even further to less than five per cent by 2025 and eventually eliminate the practice altogether.

According to a report by the New Indian Express, Verrall was quoted saying that "Thousands of people will live longer, healthier lives" with the measure. Along with this, the health system will be better off by around $5 billion from not having to treat smoking-caused illnesses, such as cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and amputations.

Increased Life Expectancy & Healthier Communities

The bill also limits the number of retailers who would be able to sell tobacco products around the nation. As per the new regulations, the number of retailers who can legally sell tobacco products would go down from 6,000 to 600, and the products they sell would have lesser nicotine levels to make them less addictive.

Commenting about this, Dr Verrall claimed, "communities will be free from the proliferation and clustering of retailers who target and sell tobacco products in certain areas." This move is also expected to close the life expectancy gap between the Maori and non-Maori citizens.

However, the new regulations do not impose any form of ban on vape products, which have become far more popular among younger generations than cigarettes. Critics of the bill have picked this factor up and warned the government that the policy could backfire with more black markets coming up to sell tobacco products. They stated that while no one wants to see people smoke, smokers would inevitably find their way around the law and could fall prey to illegal markets.

Also Read: New Zealand Govt Prohibits Sales Of Cigarettes To Those Born After 2008

Contributors Suggest Correction
Writer : Laxmi Mohan Kumar
Editor : Shiva Chaudhary
Creatives : Laxmi Mohan Kumar

Must Reads