New Zealand plans to ban the sale of tobacco to its next generation, arguing that other efforts to stop people from smoking were taking too long.
The new legislation will mean people aged 14 and under will never legally purchase tobacco within the country. The new legislation will also increase the legal smoking age every year to create a smoke-free generation of New Zealanders, said Dr. Ayesha Verrall, Associate Health Minister of New Zealand.
The New Zealand government announced the rising age alongside other measures to make smoking inaccessible and unaffordable in a bid to reach its goal of making the Pacific island nation entirely smoke-free within the next four years. Other efforts to achieve the goal the government has set for itself include:
However, the new laws will not restrict vape sales.
New Zealand’s daily smoking rates are 11.6% for all New Zealanders aged over 15. But smoking rates for Maori and Pasifika were much higher, at 29% for the Maori and 18% for the Pasifika.
The restriction would be rolled out in stages from 2024, beginning with a sharp reduction in the number of authorized sellers, which then will be followed by a decrease in nicotine requirements in 2025 and the creation of a generation of non-smokers from 2027.