The PM of New Zealand announced that it is planning to decrease cigarette and tobacco consumption in the country by introducing new legislative reforms.
The authorities in New Zealand have outlined new reforms that will crackdown the sales and purchase of cigarettes and tobacco across the country.
According to the proposed legislative reforms, anyone as young as 14 will be banned from purchasing cigarettes in their lifetime as the age limit of the ban will keep on increasing with each passing year.
New Zealand’s Associate Minister of Health Ayesha Verrall stated that “the government hopes to pass a law backing these changes by the end of 2022, allowing the law to take effect in 2023.”
Before officially introducing the new legislation through parliament, the government has devised a plan to consult a ‘health task force’ which will represent the Maori population. These Maori people have higher rates of smoking in their community.
According to recent data, 29% of the adult smokers in New Zealand comprise Maori people.
The health minister stated that these measures are to be taken on an immediate basis otherwise “it would be decades until Maori smoking rates fall below 5%.”
She further stated, “By going smoke-free we could live in a country where our tamariki (children) spend more quality years with their tūpuna (elders), we reduce the number of high-risk pregnancies, strong and healthy babies are born at term, fewer people are in hospital with smoking-related diseases and people have more money to spend on the things they need and enjoy.”
The country already has some of the toughest restrictions in the world when it comes to smoking. There is a ban on the sales of cigarettes to people below the age of 18. Tobacco products have the highest amount of taxes in the country.
According to the government, these severe measures helped in curbing the high rate of smoking across the country but now even stricter measures need to be taken to achieve the “goal of dropping smoking rates below 5% by 2025.”