New Zealand moves ahead with world-first tobacco laws in bid to create smoke-free generation

Proposed laws, that include a rising purchasing age for cigarettes, have drawn praise and concern over their untested nature

New Zealand legislators have vowed to break the “disgusting and bizarre” hold of cigarette companies, introducing world-first legislation that will stop the next generation from ever being able to legally buy cigarettes.

On Tuesday the government introduced its new laws to try to create a smoke-free generation, installing a steadily rising purchasing age so that teenagers will never be able to legally purchase cigarettes. The new measures, which were debated in parliament, are considered a world first – and have attracted a mixture of praise for innovation and concerns at their untested nature. As well as the shifting smoking age, they would dramatically reduce the nicotine in cigarettes, and force them to only be sold through specialty tobacco stores, rather than corner stores and supermarkets.

“For decades we have permitted tobacco companies to maintain their market share by making their deadly product more and more addictive. It is disgusting and it is bizarre. We have more regulations in this country on the safety of the sale of a sandwich than on a cigarette,” said the associate minister of health, Ayesha Verrall, as she introduced the law for its first reading.

“Our priority in bringing this bill is protecting what is precious: our people, our wh?nau [families], our communities.”

The bill is at its first reading, and had near-universal cross-party support to pass through to select committee – the next stage of the legislative process, where MPs hear from expert and public submissions. The law is expected to come into effect in 2023. The rules target only tobacco products, and vaping will remain legal.

Read more at the Guardian