New Zealand has passed a law that prevents future generations from buying tobacco. The particular ban on purchasing tobacco is just one law that is part of the country’s new cluster of regulations that focus on curbing smoking. The law passed in Parliament yesterday and is now considered one of the strictest measures taken against buying tobacco in the world.
According to the Straits Times, other laws in the cluster include bans on selling tobacco to anyone born on or after January 1, 2009. If that law is broken, it will be punishable by a fine of up to NZ $150,000. The ban on selling tobacco to those persons born on or after the date specified will be lifelong. The new legislation will also reduce the amount of nicotine allowed in tobacco products that can be smoked.
It will also curb the number of retailers that are allowed to sell tobacco by 90%. That means the number of retailers allowed to sell tobacco will be cut to just 600 by the end of 2023. Currently, there are 6,000 retailers licensed to sell tobacco. Ayesha Verrall, Associate Health Minister of New Zealand, commented on the new laws.
“This legislation accelerates progress towards a smoke-free future. Thousands of people will live longer, healthier lives, and the health system will be NZ$5 billion better off from not needing to treat the illnesses caused by smoking, such as numerous types of cancer, heart attacks, strokes, amputations.”
As New Zealand already features one of the lowest rates of adult smokers among the 38 countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, it plans to be smoke-free by 2025. Verrall says the new laws would help close the life expectancy gap between Maori and non-Maori citizens, which can range as high as 25% for the country’s women.
Already boasting one of the lowest adult smoking rates among the 38 countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), New Zealand is further tightening anti-smoking laws as part of a government push to make the country “smoke-free” by 2025. Bhutan is now the only country that will have stricter laws against tobacco as it banned cigarette sales back in 2010.