New Zealand plans to create a 'smoke-free generation'

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The government has previously used graphic messaging on smoke packs (pictured) and increased taxes to reduce tobacco smoking.

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Over the past two years, New Zealand has been praised for its ability to contain the spread of COVID-19. Now, the country’s government is dealing with another health crisis: tobacco smoking. On Wednesday it announced an ambitious plan that will be the world’s toughest on tobacco buying and consumption.


Under the Smokefree 2025 Action Plan announced on Wednesday, the requirement for the tobacco purchase and smoking age will increase every year. The plan is structured so that people who are now 14 years of age or younger will never be able to buy tobacco legally. To reduce the harm caused by smoking to people unaffected by the ban, the legal nicotine strength in cigarettes will be greatly reduced in 2025, and only select retailers will be able to sell them.

“Smoking is still the leading cause of preventable death in New Zealand and causes one in four cancers,” Associate Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verall said, “We have already seen the full impact of the excise tax hike. The government recognizes that going forward will not help people quit, it will only further punish smokers who are struggling to kick the habit. So, our plan released today includes new ways to help us reach our goals.”

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The plan has not yet been officially enacted into law, but is expected to pass easily due to the ruling Labor Party’s parliamentary majority.

Although many countries have implemented laws designed to curb tobacco consumption, such as Bhutan’s 2004 law that made smoking in public places illegal, New Zealand will be the first country to ban tobacco smoking entirely. . government of new zealand It is said that 5,000 people die every year from direct and secondhand smoking while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say in the US the number is 480,000, (The US population is about 66 times the size of New Zealand.) CDC Adds that $300 billion is spent every year on the treatment of smoking-related diseases.

“The action plan is great news,” said Chris Bullen, professor of public health at the University of Auckland. “If implemented as outlined, this could be just the most important step we can take as a nation to reduce preventable death and disease in the next few years and reduce health inequalities.”

There is little asterisk in New Zealand’s plan, in that vaping will not be affected by the new laws. “We see that people are using vaping as a tool to stop smoking, and this enables us to proceed with further activity to reduce smoking as an option,” Pradhan Minister Jacinda Ardern told reporters on Wednesday (Thursday New Zealand time).

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