Aiming to make the country smoke-free by 2025, New Zealand considers a proposal to ban smoking and the sale of tobacco products to anyone born after 2004, according to Evening Standard.
The country’s Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced the proposed measure which will gradually increase the legal smoking age over time.
“A smoke-free generation policy would prohibit the sale, and the supply in a public place, of smoked tobacco products to new cohorts from a specified date.
“For example, if legislation commenced on 1 January 2022, then people younger than 18 years at that time or those born after 1 January 2004 would never be able to lawfully be sold smoked tobacco products,” according to the consultation document.
Other anti-smoking measures taken by New Zealand include reducing the level of nicotine allowed in tobacco products, prohibiting filters, setting a minimum price for tobacco, and restricting locations where tobacco and cigarettes can be sold.
Dr Verrall said a new approach is needed if the country wants to achieve the goal of a smoke-free nation by 2025.
“Almost half a million New Zealanders smoke daily. If we are to reach our goal, many more need to quit or switch to less harmful alternatives.
“I acknowledge how addictive nicotine is and how tough it is to quit smoking. We must provide people with better support in their decisions to stop smoking and in their quit journeys,” Dr Verrall said.