New Zealand has announced plans to ban the sale of tobacco to future generations as they attempt to phase out smoking in the country for good. Anyone born in 2008 or later will not be legally able to purchase cigarettes and other tobacco products in their lifetimes, according to the new law due to come into force in 2022, BBC News reports.
- The move is an attempt to improve the health of all New Zealanders. As Health Minister Dr. Ayesha Verall said in a statement: “We want to make sure young people never start smoking.” The announcement came as a part of a huge package of measures aimed at stubbing out smoking altogether in the country.
- Health experts are thrilled with the measures. While many believe banning cigarettes and tobacco products altogether for future generations, doctors and other health experts have praised the “world-leading” reforms. Professor Janet Hook from the University of Otago said: “It will help people quit or switch to less harmful products, and make it much less likely that young people get addicted to nicotine.”
- New Zealand has been working to reduce smoking for years. It has a goal to reduce the national smoking rate to 5% by 2025 and hopefully get rid of it altogether. Roughly a decade ago, the rates held at about 18%, though it has reduced to 13% currently. However, the indigenous communities smoke at much higher levels, currently about 31%, leading to higher illness and mortality rates.
- It’s not just future generations that will be affected by the measures. New Zealand’s health ministry also proposed other tobacco controls including restricting where cigarettes can be sold and removing them from corner stores and supermarkets. Under this legislation, the 8,000 stores that currently carry tobacco products in the country will be reduced to fewer than 500.