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Saturday / June 22.
HomeminewsNZ’s Smoke-Free Generation

NZ’s Smoke-Free Generation

New Zealand will create a smoke-free generation with the passing of laws stopping people aged 14 and under from ever being able to legally buy cigarettes.

Announcing the law had passed this week, NZ’s associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall said the country’s health system would be “$5 billion better off from not needing to treat illnesses caused by smoking”.

Studies show smoking increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, and dry eye disease

As well as being linked to numerous types of cancer, heart attacks and strokes, smoking can lead to vision loss. Studies show smoking increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, and dry eye disease.

New Zealand is believed to be the first country in the world to implement the annually rising smoking age. The laws passed their final reading this week, and will come into force in 2023, as NZ attempts to reach its goal of making the country “smoke-free” by 2025.

Legislative Changes

Dr Verrall said the three main legislative changes will be to reduce the amount of nicotine that is allowed in smoked tobacco products, to dramatically decrease the numbers of retailers that sell tobacco, and to prohibit the sale of tobacco to anyone born on or after 1 January 2009.

“It means nicotine will be reduced to non-addictive levels and communities will be free from the proliferation and clustering of retailers who target and sell tobacco products in certain areas.

“The number of retailers around the country that can sell tobacco will be reduced to a tenth of the 6,000 there are now. This legislation mandates a maximum of 600 tobacco retailers by the end of next year,” she said.

New Zealand’s smoking rate is already low, with just 8% of adults smoking daily. This is down from 9.4% a year ago and half the rate compared to 10 years ago.

“These measures are important for equitable health for Māori. They will close the life expectancy gap for Māori women by 25% and by 10% for Māori men.

The new laws, however, will not restrict vape sales, although it is already illegal to sell vaping products to minors.