The process has begun to make New Zealand smoke-free by 2025. Jacinda Ardern’s government has just approved a law that prohibits the sale of cigarettes to anyone born on 1 January 2009 onwards. The measure taken by Weelington Parliament includes not only the youngest but also future generations in the smoking ban. A ban unique in the world. New Zealand is the first nation ever to ban the sale of tobacco to everyone aged 14 and under today, including everyone yet to be born.
What the provision provides
The new anti-smoking law decreases the amount of nicotine allowed in smoked tobacco, and also provides for some restrictions to make the sale of tobacco more difficult. For example, from now on cigarettes can only be sold in special shops and no longer in supermarkets and the number of authorized resellers will be reduced from the current six thousand to six hundred. All this because “we want to be sure that the youngest will never start smoking tobacco” explains the New Zealand Deputy Minister of Health, Ayesha Verrall.
Verrall: ‘Thousands of people will live longer’
“For decades we have allowed the tobacco industry to maintain its market share. It’s disgusting and bizarre. We have more rules on how to regulate the sale of a sandwich than the sale of cigarettes. That’s enough,” comments Verrall. “Thousands of people will live longer, have healthier lives and the health system will save 5 billion dollars a year by not treating diseases caused by smoking” concludes the deputy health minister.
data on tobacco consumption
According to statistics released last month, the number of New Zealanders who smoke daily continues to drop from 9.4 percent in 2021 to 8 percent this year. This is the lowest recorded percentage of tobacco use. However, the new law does not restrict sales of Vape, electronic cigarettes, the use of which is increasing: from 6.2 percent last year to 8.3 percent in 2022.