The first nation in the world to outlaw smoking for future generations is New Zealand. On Tuesday, the bill was approved by the parliament.
As part of a package of new anti-smoking laws passed by the parliament on Tuesday, the next generation of New Zealanders won’t be able to purchase cigarettes. According to the new law, no one born after 2008 can purchase a pack of cigarettes or other tobacco products.
Ayesha Verrall, the health minister for New Zealand, introduced the bill. The Health Minister stated that the bill was a step “towards a smoke-free future” when introducing it.
Dr. Verrall continued, “Thousands of people will live longer, healthier lives, and the health system will be NZ$5 billion (US$3.2 billion) better off because we won’t have to treat the diseases brought on by smoking.”
This law will allow fewer people to buy tobacco each year. For instance, in 2050, people over 40 won’t be able to buy cigarettes. According to a government statistic released in November, only 8% of New Zealand adults smoke daily, which is a very low smoking rate. The Smoke Free Environment Bill aims to reduce the percentage to less than 5% by 2025, with the ultimate goal of doing away with the practice entirely.
The bill’s structure aims to reduce the number of retailers nationwide authorised to sell smoked tobacco products from 6,000 to 600. Additionally, it emphasises lowering the nicotine content of products to make them less addictive.
According to Dr. Verrall, reducing nicotine to non-addictive levels implies that communities will be free from the proliferation and clustering of retailers who target and sell tobacco products in particular areas.
She said the law might lessen the difference between Maori and non-Maori citizens’ life expectancies. Smoking rates among Maori citizens as a whole are 19.9% lower than they were 12 months ago (22.3%).