New Zealand is set to become the first country to move forward with tobacco laws that will create smoke-free generations, reports The Guardian.
The New Zealand government has introduced its new laws that are expected to come into effect in 2023 and will see a steadily rising purchasing age so that teenagers will never be able to legally purchase cigarettes, reports The Guardian. The measures not only include a rise of the minimum purchasing age but also a reduction of nicotine in cigarettes and cigarettes only being sold at specialist tobacco stores. The bill is at its first reading with the next stage of the legislative progress involving submissions from experts and the public.
“For decades we have permitted tobacco companies to maintain their market share by making their deadly product more and more addictive. It is disgusting and it is bizarre. We have more regulations in this country on the safety of the sale of a sandwich than on a cigarette,” said the associate minister of health, Ayesha Verrall, as she introduced the law for its first reading.
Opposition National MP Matt Doocey said the party supported the bill but also voiced concerns: “Most of the measures being considered have yet to be widely implemented internationally, and in some cases, New Zealand would be the first in the world to implement them,” he said. “I don’t have a problem that New Zealand is going to be the first in the world,” he said, but the policy’s untested nature meant there was “significant uncertainty in the outcomes”.
According to The Guardian, the new rules will only apply to tobacco products, whereas vaping will remain legal.