In landmark legislation, the federal government of New Zealand is moving forward on several bills that would effectively ban smoking for anyone born after 2004. The docket of bills also propose lowering the level of nicotine allowed in tobacco products, banning filters, establishing a minimum price for tobacco products and further limiting where tobacco can be sold.

A consultation document from the New Zealand central government reads, “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.”

The new bills saw expected push back from right-wing groups like ACT New Zealand. ACT’s social development and children spokesperson Karen Chhour said in a statement Monday that, “New Zealand smokers who can least afford it will spend more on their habit and in turn do harm to those around them if the government mandates lower nicotine,” also saying that the order to lower the amount of nicotine per cigarette would cost smokers more money to achieve the same relief from the drug.

The new push for a tobacco control was introduced by Dr. Ayesha Verrall who said, “About 4,500 New Zealanders die every year from tobacco, and we need to make accelerated progress to be able to reach that goal.” Verrall is referring to New Zealand’s new “Smoke-free 2025” initiative.

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