New Zealand has passed into law a unique plan to phase out tobacco smoking by imposing a lifetime ban on young people buying cigarettes.
The law states that tobacco can’t ever be sold to anybody born on or after 1 January 2009.
Included in the new legislation are other measures to make smoking less affordable and accessible, including dramatically reducing the legal amount of nicotine in tobacco products and forcing them to be sold through specialty tobacco stores, rather than at corner stores and supermarkets.
The number of stores legally allowed to sell cigarettes will be reduced to a tenth of their existing levels – from 6000 to just 600 nationwide.
When introducing the legislation, associate health minister Ayesha Verrall said: “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.
“Thousands of people will (now) live longer, healthier lives and the health system will be $5 billion better off from not needing to treat the illnesses caused by smoking, such as numerous types of cancer, heart attacks, strokes, amputations.”
‘We have more regulations in this country on the safety of the sale of a sandwich than on a cigarette.’ — NZ associate health minister Ayesha Verrall