New Zealand has banned smoking for young people with radical new laws brought in by the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern.
The move means those aged 14 and under by 2027 will never be allowed to legally buy cigarettes in their lifetime.
Ayesha Verrall, the country’s associate health minister spoke in parliament about the issue. She stated: “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.
“We are also reducing the appeal, addictiveness and availability of smoked tobacco products.
“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.
“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.”
The age limit will increase every year until it is illegal for the entire nation to purchase tobacco products.
It’s understood the nation’s drive to become ‘smoke-free’ is behind the new regulations, which are among the most strict in the world, just behind Bhutan (where cigarette sales are banned outright).
No detail has been given about how the ban will be policed, but more is expected when legislation is brought before parliament in 2022.
The move has been criticised by an ACT party member, Karen Chhour. The Social Development and Children spokesperson claimed it could cause a ‘black market’.
She said: “As a former smoker, I’m sick and tired of Labour trying to socially engineer us into changing our behaviour.
‘No one wants to see young people smoke, but the reality is some will. And Labour’s nanny state prohibition is going to cause problems.”
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