New Zealand adopts legislation to ban tobacco sale to children aged 14 or below
Dec 14, 2022 - 11:30 AM
ISTANBUL (AA) – New Zealand on Tuesday passed legislation banning the sale of tobacco to anyone aged 14 or below, a significant step towards the country’s goal of becoming smoke-free by 2025.
The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Bill was passed by the parliament in its third reading, with support from Labour, the Greens, and Te Paati Maori.
The law, which was first introduced in July, prohibits the sale of any tobacco product to anyone born after Jan. 1, 2009. It will go into effect next year.
New Zealand may be the world’s first nation to introduce such a law criminalizing the sale of tobacco to children, aged 14 or below.
Under the new regulations brought about by the new law, the amount of nicotine in smoked tobacco products will be reduced, and the number of tobacco retailers will be reduced to 600 across the country.
Health Minister Ayesha Verrall said in a statement: “The number of retailers around the country that can sell tobacco will be reduced to a tenth of the 6000 there are now. This legislation mandates a maximum of 600 tobacco retailers by the end of next year.”
“New Zealand’s smoking rate is already low with just 8% of adults smoking daily, down from 9.4% a year and a half ago and half the rate compared to 10 years ago,” Radio New Zealand reported.
The new rule, according to the Health Coalition Aotearoa – an alliance of NGOs, consumer groups, medical professionals, and academic leaders in the country – ensures that the next generation “won’t suffer the harms of tobacco use.”
“Decades of hard-fought advocacy from health and community organizations has led to today’s milestone – the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Bill passing its third and final reading,” it said in a statement.
It added that the government “responded to the resolute calls from more than 110 health, community, and research organizations, and 650 individuals, who signed Health Coalition Aotearoa’s letter of support for the government’s proposed Smoke-Free Action Plan.”