New Zealand has settled new plans to ban tobacco for those born after 2008 in an effort to outlaw smoking for the next generation.
Anyone currently aged 14 and under will be legally banned from purchasing tobacco in stores as of 2022 under a new law being finalised following a public consultation.
The legislation aims to make the country a smoke-free nation by 2025, with the age limit on buying tobacco rising year by year.
The country will also implement other measures to ensure smoking habits are eradicated, including lowering nicotine levels.
The government also announced that they will cut down the number of shops that sell tobacco products, and increase funding to addiction services in an attempt to make cigarettes less accessible.
“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,” health minister Dr Ayesha Verrall said today.
She continued: “This is a historic day for the health of our people. People aged 14 when the law comes into effect will never be able to legally purchase tobacco.”
No news has been given on vapes or e-cigarettes as of yet, although the law is said to not restrict sales of either product.
Verrall added that the four-year plan is doable, where smoking rates have already dropped significantly over the past decade. In 2018, rates fell to 11.6% opposed to 18% the decade prior.
Māori, an indigenous province in New Zealand, has one of the highest smoking rates in the country at 29%.
“We’re on track [to eradicate smoking] 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 Māori – and that’s [what] the plan is really focused on,” said Verall.
Concerns have been raised over a potential black market that could be created as a result of prohibiting the products, which the New Zealand government has detailed in a proposal:
“Evidence indicates that the amount of tobacco products being smuggled into New Zealand has increased substantially in recent years and organised criminal groups are involved in large-scale smuggling,” it reads.
Gemma Ross is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter