The measure would begin by restricting access to children under 14 years of age and will have adjustments over the years
New Zealand announced this Wednesday that it will prohibit children under 14 years of age from buying tobacco, a law that will have to be approved by Parliament before becoming effective and that is part of the fight against smoke that the New Zealand country has been carrying out since 2011 .
The proposal plans to progressively raise the minimum age to acquire tobacco in a new plan to cut this addiction that will mean that today’s youth will never be able to legally buy cigarettes, the government explained.
“We want to make sure that young people never start smoking, so from now on it will be a crime to sell or supply tobacco-related products to young people under 14 years old,” said the minister.
New Zealand currently prohibits the sale of tobacco to persons under 18 years of age. With the new law, starting in 2027 it will be raised by one year each year , preventing the generation that at that time reaches 18 from ever being able to buy tobacco legally, said Associate Minister of Health Ayesha Verrall.
“It is a historic day for the health of our people,” he said. “Smoking is still the leading cause of predictable death in New Zealand, causing one in four cancers,” she added.
The New Zealand Ministry of Health launched a campaign that seeks to create a smoke-free environment by 2025 and which promises to address the harm that smoking has caused to New Zealanders, which causes one in four deaths in the country and is more common in Maori, Pacific and low-income communities.
“If the situation does not change, it will be decades until the smoking rate in the Maori community drops by five percent,” said Verrall, who also explained that “by preventing people from starting smoking and helping those who smoke to leave it is to cover both ends of the spectrum ”.
With this law, despite the fact that young people will only be able to buy tobacco with low doses of nicotine and few stores will be able to provide it.
The associate minister noted that the government will also legislate to restrict where tobacco is sold and only allow low-nicotine products on the market to reduce the chances that people will become addicted.
The minister pointed out that in the most affected communities the average number of smokers is double that of 13.5% of the rest of the population. The government hopes to reduce this percentage to 5% over the next four years, which, in its opinion, would save the public system $ 3.6 million.
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