New Zealand has an ambitious plan to curb smoking.
Proposed legislation would ban young people from buying cigarettes — for life.
People aged 14 and under, as of 2027, would never be allowed to buy them.
The legislation would also curb the number of retailers allowed to sell tobacco, and cut nicotine levels in all products.
“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,” New Zealand Associate Minister of Health Ayesha Verrall said in a statement.
The restrictions would be rolled out in stages beginning in 2024 with a sharp reduction in the number of authorized sellers. That would be followed by reduced nicotine requirements in 2025, and the creation of the “smoke-free” generation from 2027.
The New Zealand government says the tougher steps are necessary to achieve the goal of fewer than 5 per cent of the population smoking daily by 2025.
Smoking kills about 5,000 people a year in New Zealand, making it one of the country’s top causes of preventable death. Four in five smokers started before age 18.
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