New Zealand bans smoking for next generation

New Zealand passed a law on Tuesday banning the sale of tobacco to anyone born on or after 1 January 2009. This is the world”s first legislation to phase out smoking for future generations.

“Thousands of people will live longer, healthier lives and the health system will be $5billion better off from not needing to treat the illnesses caused by smoking, such as numerous types of cancer, heart attacks, strokes, amputations,” said Health Minister Ayesha Verrall.

The bill also aims to reduce the number of retailers allowed to sell tobacco products by 90%, from the current 6,000 to 600 nationwide, as well as reducing the nicotine levels in products to make them less addictive. “It means nicotine will be reduced to non-addictive levels and communities will be free from the proliferation and clustering of retailers who target and sell tobacco products in certain areas,” Dr Verrall said.

“There is no good reason to allow a product to be sold that kills half the people that use it,” the minister told lawmakers in Parliament. “And I can tell you that we will end this in the future, as we pass this legislation.”

The new law passed on Tuesday will come into force in 2023, as part of New Zealand’s plans of becoming smoke-free by 2025. According to governmental statistics published last month, only 8% of adults are smoking daily, compared to 16% ten years ago, or 9.4% last year. The country’s smoking rate is now the lowest since records began, with 56,000 smokers quitting in the past year. “Smoking rates are plummeting. Our goal of being smoke-free by 2025 is within reach,” confirmed Dr. Verall.

When it comes to vaping, things are different as it became more popular than smoking in New Zealand. The statistics showed a rise in daily vape users from 1% six years ago, or 6.2% in the past year, up to 8.3% now. The law however, does not affect vaping and will not restrict the sales of vape products.