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14 December 2022, 11:42
New Zealand has passed the world-first tobacco law to ban smoking for the next generation.
Under landmark new legislation, New Zealand has banned smoking for all future generations in the country.
That means those aged 14 and under - born on or after 1 January 2009 - will never be able to legally buy cigarettes when the laws come into force next year.
New Zealand is thought to be the first country in the world to implement the law as well as putting in other measures to make smoking less affordable.
This includes dramatically reducing the legal amount of nicotine in tobacco products and forcing them to be sold only through specialty tobacco stores.
As well as this, the number of stores legally allowed to sell cigarettes will be reduced to a tenth of their current levels, to just 600 nationwide.
The country has also increased funding for health services and campaigns, and rolled out quitting services.
This is all part of New Zealand’s goal of making the country completely ‘smoke-free’ by 2025, while the new laws don’t affect vape sales.
Associate health minister Ayesha Verrall has said ‘thousands of people’ will benefit from the new law.
She said: “People will live longer, healthier lives and the health system will be $5bn better off from not needing to treat the illnesses caused by smoking, such as numerous types of cancer, heart attacks, strokes, amputations.”
This comes after Ms Verrall made a speech slamming tobacco companies when the laws were put forward in July.
“For decades we have permitted tobacco companies to maintain their market share by making their deadly product more and more addictive,” she said.
“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.
“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.”
“Smoking rates are plummeting,” she added. “Our goal of being smoke-free by 2025 is within reach.”
According to data released in November, the number of people smoking daily has fallen to 8% – down from 9.4% last year.
However, 8.3% of adults are now vaping everyday, which is up from 6.2% the previous year.