To healthier life: New Zealand lays out plan to ban smoking

WION Web Team
Auckland, New Zealand Published: Dec 09, 2021, 01:02 PM(IST)

Smoking is now being banned in New Zealand for the present generation. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

This law comes at a time when the country has already been observing a drop in the daily smoking rate, but experts had warned that nearly 4500 locals lose their life to tobacco consumption every year

Smoking is usually known as one of the hardest habits to quit and the New Zealand government has decided to help its citizens get rid of it.

New Zealand has announced that the country will ban smoking for the future generation, meaning that everyone of the age 14 and below will not be allowed to buy and consume tobacco.

Under the new legislation, the authorities will keep increasing the legal age of smoking every year. This, the government hopes, will help create a smoke-free generation and help citizens live a longer and healthier life.

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"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," associate health minister Dr Ayesha Verrall said.

This law comes at a time when the country has already been observing a drop in the daily smoking rates. Over time, the rate has dropped from 18 per cent a decade earlier to nearly 11.6 per cent in 2018. However, the daily smoking rates for Māori and Pacifika stayed high at 29 and 18 per cent respectively. Authorities hope that if the smoking rate drops in general, the same will follow for Māori and Pacifika and soon it will be below five per cent.

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Authorities are aiming to completely eradicate smoking in the country within the next four years. "In fact, we’re on track to for the New Zealand European population. The issue is, though, if we don’t change what we’re doing, we won’t make it for Maori – and that’s [what] the plan is really focused on," Verrall said.

This decision was taken after experts observed that nearly 4,500 locals lose their life to tobacco consumption every year. "About 4,500 New Zealanders die every year from tobacco, and we need to make accelerated progress to be able to reach that goal [of Smokefree 2025]. Business-as-usual without a tobacco control program won't get us there," Verrall had said earlier.

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