The Pacific island nation’s unique plan to end smoking involves gradually raising the minimum age at which people can legally buy tobacco each year thereafter – meaning that after 50 years, a person would be 63 to buy a pack of cigarettes. must be of age.
However, New Zealand health officials hope to end tobacco use by 2025. The new law will reduce the number of retailers allowed to sell marijuana from 6,000 to 600. The amount of nicotine allowed in smoking is also reduced. .
The law does not affect vaping, which exceeds smoking in the country.
Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall, who introduced the bill, called the law “a step towards a limitless future”. This was reported by the BBC.
“Thousands of people live longer, healthier lives and the health system is worth NZ$5 billion [$3.2 billion USD] It is better that there is no need to treat diseases caused by smoking, – he said.
Smoking rates in New Zealand are already at historic lows, with just 8 per cent of adults saying they smoke daily, down from 16 per cent a decade ago. However, 8.3% of adults said they were depressed every day, down from 1% just six years ago.
New Zealand’s indigenous Māori population reported significantly higher rates of smoking, with approximately 20% reporting daily smoking.
The buying age of tobacco is already restricted to those over 18, and graphic warning labels are placed on cigarette packs.
Cigarette sales in the country are already restricted to those 18 and older.
The law passed the New Zealand Parliament 76-43 along party lines.
The country’s libertarian ACT party opposed the bill, claiming it could negatively impact small corner shops across the country, even putting them out of business.
ACT deputy leader Brooke van Velden called the bill a “nanny-state ban” that would lead to a black market.
“We oppose this bill because it’s a bad bill and it’s bad policy, plain and simple,” he said. “It doesn’t get any better for New Zealanders.”