Smoke Free 2025: New Zealand Plans to Ban Smoking

The New Zealand government has announced its bid to ban smoking with a unique plan set to unfold over the next few years.

“This is a historic day for the health of our people,” announced Associate Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall.

The proposal, which is expected to pass through legislation next year, will increase the minimum age to buy cigarettes then simply keep raising it annually. This process will eventually lead to a population that is all too young to buy tobacco.

It also means those born after 2008 will never reach the legal age – enforcing primary prevention among the younger generation.

“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,” Verrall said.

The campaign also addresses those who will have some time before the minimum age reaches them. The legal amount of nicotine in tobacco products will be reduced, along with limiting the stores that can sell them and increasing funds towards supporting addiction services.

However, not everyone is as confident in these measures.

“We will end up with a black market for tobacco, with no standards or regulation, and people will be harmed,” Karen Chhour said on behalf of ACT New Zealand.

Verrall admitted the government recognized this potential impact, but the consequence of smoking is dangerous enough to risk it.

“We will need to enforce it, and we will need to resource enforcement at the border and in the community,” she said.

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