<strong>New NZ laws will ban future generations from buying tobacco</strong>

New NZ laws will ban future generations from buying tobacco

Future generations of New Zealanders will be banned from purchasing tobacco as part of a package of new anti-smoking laws that passed parliament on Tuesday and are among the strictest in the world.

The suite of new laws include bans on selling tobacco to anyone born on or after Jauary 1, 2009, punishable by fines up to NZ$150,000. The ban will remain in place for a person’s whole life.

The legislation will also reduce the amount of nicotine allowed in smoked tobacco products and cut the number of retailers able to sell tobacco by 90%.

It will mean the number of people able to buy tobacco will shrink each year. By 2050, for example, 40-year-olds will be too young to buy cigarettes.

Health Minister Ayesha Verrall, who introduced the bill, said it was a step “towards a smoke-free future”.

“Thousands of people will live longer, healthier lives and the health system will be NZ$5 billion better off from not needing to treat the illnesses caused by smoking,” Dr Verrall said.

New Zealand’s smoking rate is already at historic lows, with just 8% of adults smoking daily according to government statistic released in November – down from 9.4% last year. It is hoped that the Smokefree Environments Bill will reduce that number to less than 5% by 2025, with the eventual aim of eliminating the practice altogether.

The bill is also designed to limit the number of retailers able to sell smoked tobacco products to 600 nationwide – down from 6,000 currently – and reduce nicotine levels in products to make them less addictive.

The new legislation does not ban vape products, which have become far more popular among younger generations than cigarettes.

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