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New Zealand bans tobacco for future generations and moves towards ‘smoke-free’ by 2025

The New Zealand The government on Thursday announced it is planning to ban the sale of cigarettes to the next generation, in a bid to make the country smoke-free by 2025.

The Jacinda Ardern government will cut the number of retailers allowed to sell cigarettes and cut nicotine levels in all products. It will also make it harder for young people to buy cigarette.

“We want to make sure that young people never start smoke therefore, we will consider the sale or supply of smoked tobacco products to new youth groups as an offense,” Deputy Health Minister Ayesha Verrall said in a statement.

According to government figures, at least 11.6% of all New Zealanders over the age of 15 smoke. This number rises to 29% among indigenous Maori adults.

The decision is considered one of the toughest approaches in the world to limit smoking-related deaths, focusing on the disproportionate impact on the Maori population.

“If nothing changes, it will be decades before the Maori smoking rate falls below 5%, and this government is not willing to leave people behind,” Ms. Verall said.

The government is expected to introduce the law into parliament in June next year after consulting a Maori health task force.

The smoking restrictions will then come into effect from 2024.

Initially, the number of authorized sellers will be reduced, followed by a reduction in nicotine requirements by 2025 to reduce national smoking rates by 5%, and ultimately, a generation of “smoke-free” “from 2027.

However, no restrictions will be applied to vapes.

New Zealand reports at least 5,000 smoking-related deaths each year, making it the leading cause of preventable death in the Pacific. Four out of five smokers start smoking before the age of 18, the government says.

Doctors and health authorities have welcomed the proposal to crack down on tobacco.

Alistair Humphrey, president of the New Zealand Medical Association, said: “Smoking kills 14 New Zealanders every day and two-thirds of smokers will die from smoking.

“This action plan offers some hope towards realizing our 2025 smoke-free Aotearoa goal and keeping our tamariki [Maori children] smoke-free,” he added.

However, a lobbying group for local convenience stores, known as dairy stores, has severely attacked the measures.

It said the government’s plan would destroy some businesses.

The group raised concerns about a potentially larger black tobacco market.

“This is all 100% theory and not 100% real. There will be a crime wave. Gangs and criminals will fill the void with cigar houses next to homes for alcoholics,” the group’s president, Sunny Kaushal, told the New Zealand-based portal Things.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/australasia/new-zealand-ban-smoking-tobacco-b1972663.html New Zealand bans tobacco for future generations and moves towards ‘smoke-free’ by 2025

JACLYN DIAZ

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