New Zealand passes world-first tobacco law to ban smoking for next generation

New Zealand has introduced a steadily increasing smoking age to prevent young people under 14 from ever being able to legally buy cigarettes in world-first legislation to outlaw smoking for the next generation, reports The Guardian.
Associate health minister Ayesha Verrall said at the law’s passing on 13 December: “Thousands of people will live longer, healthier lives and the health system will be NZD 5 bn [USD 3.1 billion] better off from not needing to treat the illnesses caused by smoking, such as numerous types of cancer, heart attacks, strokes, amputations.”
New Zealand is believed to be the first country in the world to implement the annually rising smoking age, ensuring tobacco is no longer sold to anyone born on or after 1 January 2009.
It will be accompanied by a number of other measures to make smoking less affordable and accessible, including a drastic reduction in the amount of nicotine allowed in tobacco products and forcing them to be sold only in specialty tobacco stores, rather than corner stores and supermarkets.
The number of stores legally allowed to sell cigarettes will be reduced to a tenth of the previous number – from 6,000 to just 600 nationwide. The laws passed their final reading on 13 December, and will come into force in 2023, as New Zealand attempts to reach its goal of making the country “smoke-free” by 2025.
While introducing the law for its first reading in July, Verrall said: “We want to make sure young people never start smoking so we will make it an offence to sell or supply smoked tobacco products to new cohorts of youth. People aged 14 when the law comes into effect will never be able to legally purchase tobacco.”
The new laws, however, will not restrict vape sales.
Data released in November showed that the number of daily smokers fell to 8 per cent from 9.4 per cent last year, the lowest since records began.
However, the increase in daily vape users was bigger than the decrease in daily smokers: 8.3 per cent of adults now vape daily, up from 6.2 per cent last year.

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