New Zealand is banning young people from ever being allowed to buy cigarettes in a rolling program that aims to make the entire country smoke-free by 2025.
No-one under the age of 14 will ever be allowed to buy cigarettes in their lifetime in a desperate bid to eradicate smoking from the country.
Each year the age limit will be increased until it’s illegal for the entire nation under NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Adern’s radical plan.
‘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,’ associate health minister Ayesha Verrall said on Thursday.
The move comes as a new poll reveals most Australians want a total ban on all cigarette sales in shops.
NEW ZEALAND’S RADICAL PLAN TO COMBAT SMOKING
Under the new proposals, young people aged under 14 will never be allowed to buy cigarettes in New Zealand.
Each year that age limit will increase, expanding the percentage of the population who will never legally be allowed to smoke.
The minimum age to buy cigarettes in New Zealand remains 18 for the moment.
The government is also restricting the number of shops allowed to sell cigarettes.
Just 500 nationwide will be issued with a licence, similar to a bottle shop’s licence to sell alcohol.
The nicotine strength in cigarettes is also being reduced in a bid to tackle their addictiveness.
Cigarettes prices have gone up 10 per cent every year between 2011 and 2020 but that alone was not stopping smokers.
Eventually – with existing smokers dying – health officials hope to see the entire country smoke-free.
‘New laws will mean only smoked tobacco products containing very low-levels of nicotine can be sold, with a significant reduction in the number of shops who can sell them.’
The new rules will not come into effect immediately to allow retailers to transition away from relying on cigarette sales, said Dr Verrall.