Daily Management Review

Young New Zealanders To Be Banned From Buying Cigarette


Young New Zealanders To Be Banned From Buying Cigarette
New Zealand proposes to prohibit young people from ever purchasing cigarettes in their lives. This is viewed to be one of the strongest anti-tobacco measures in the world. Authorities claimed that earlier initiatives to eliminate smoking were taking too long.
In 2027, no one under the age of 14 will be permitted to buy cigarettes in the five-million-strong Pacific nation, as part of measures published on Thursday that also include limiting the number of outlets authorised to sell tobacco and lowering nicotine levels in all products.
"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," New Zealand Associate Minister of Health Ayesha Verrall said in a statement.
"If nothing changes, it would be decades till Māori smoking rates fall below 5%, and this government is not prepared to leave people behind."
According to official statistics, 11.6% of all New Zealanders aged 15 and up smoke, with indigenous Maori people smoking at a rate of 29%.
In the next months, the government will engage with a Maori health task group before submitting legislation in parliament in June of next year, with the goal of passing it by the end of 2022.
Beginning in 2024, the limits would be phased in, starting with a steep fall in the number of authorised vendors, followed by lower nicotine requirements in 2025, and the formation of the "smoke-free" generation in 2027.
New Zealand's retail tobacco business will become one of the most restrictive in the world, second only to Bhutan, where cigarette sales are outright prohibited. In 2012, Australia, New Zealand's neighbour, became the first country in the world to require plain packaging of cigarettes.
While existing efforts such as plain packaging and sales taxes had lowered tobacco usage, the New Zealand government warned that stricter measures were required to meet the country's objective of fewer than 5% of the population smoking daily by 2025.
According to the administration, the new laws would reduce smoking rates in the country by half in as little as ten years after they go into force.
In New Zealand, smoking kills over 5,000 people each year, making it one of the country's leading causes of avoidable mortality. According to the country's authorities, four out of every five smokers began before the age of 18.
Retailers voiced alarm about the impact on their operations and warned of the establishment of a black market, while health officials praised the action.
The administration provided no details on how the new restrictions would be enforced or whether or not they would extend to foreign tourists.
"Cigarette smoking kills 14 New Zealanders every day and two out of three smokers will die as a result of smoking," said New Zealand Medical Association chair Alistair Humphrey in a statement.
"This action plan offers some hope of realising our 2025 Smokefree Aotearoa goal, and keeping our tamariki (Maori children) smokefree."
The Dairy and Business Owners Organization, a lobbying group for small convenience stores known as dairies in New Zealand, claimed that while it supported a smoke-free society, the government's proposal would put many companies out of business.
"This is all 100 per cent theory and zero per cent substance," the group's chairman, Sunny Kaushal, told Stuff.co.nz. "There’s going to be a crime wave. Gangs and criminals will fill the gap with ciggie houses alongside tinnie houses."