New Zealand is coming with a new law in the coming year to help combat the challenge of the rising trend of smoking in the young generation. Reportedly, after the enactment of this law, people born after 2008 won't be able to get access to any tobacco-related products. However, the government has received a warning that a ban like this may result in a surge in the black market. This new law is part of a sweeping crackdown on smoking announced by New Zealand's health ministry.
New Zealand Plans To Ban Smoking For Future Generations
New Zealand is all set to ban the use of tobacco in its upcoming generations in a bid to eventually outlaw smoking.
A new law that is expected to be enacted from the coming year will ban anyone born after 2008 to not be able to buy cigarettes or any tobacco products.
"We want to make sure young people never start smoking," Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verall said.
According to New Zealand's health ministry on Thursday, this action is part of a sweeping crackdown on smoking.
After the news made it to the media, doctors and other health experts in the country have welcomed the positive "world-leading" reforms. This law will eventually reduce access to tobacco and restrict nicotine levels in cigarettes.
"It will help people quit or switch to less harmful products, and make it much less likely that young people get addicted to nicotine," said Prof Janet Hook from the University of Otago.
However, not everyone is welcoming this new law happily.
"I reckon it's a good move, really," one man told Reuters news agency. "Because right now there's a lot of young kids walking around with smokes in their mouth. Public are asking how they're getting these smokes.
"And it's also good for myself too because I can save more money."
Some people have also warned that banning tobacco will only lead to However, a surge in the black market for tobacco - something the health ministry's official impact statement does acknowledge, noting "customs will need more resource to enforce border control".
"This is all 100% theory and 0% substance," Sunny Kaushal, chairman of the Dairy and Business Owners Group, a lobby group for local convenience stores, told New Zealand's Stuff news site. "There's going to be a crime wave. Gangs and criminals will fill the gap".
Despite all the challenges, New Zealand is determined to achieve a national goal of reducing its national smoking rate to 5% by 2025, with the aim of eventually eliminating it altogether.
Reportedly, at this point, about13% of New Zealand's adults smoke, with the rate much higher among the indigenous Maori population, where it soars to almost a third. Maori also suffer a higher rate of disease and death.
New Zealand's health ministry informs that smoking causes 1 in 4 cancers and is a leading cause of preventable death for its five million-strong population. The industry has been the target of legislators for more than a decade now.
As a part of its crackdown, the government has introduced major tobacco controls, including significantly restricting where cigarettes can be sold to remove them from supermarkets and corner stores.
Following this new law, the number of shops authorised to sell cigarettes will be drastically reduced to under 500 from about 8,000 now, officials say.
In recent years, a few things that have become more popular among the younger generation as compared to cigarettes is vaping - smoking e-cigarettes which produce a vapor that also delivers nicotine.
However, New Zealand health authorities warn that vaping is not harmless. Researchers have found hazardous, cancer-causing agents in e-cigarette liquids as well.
Even though in 2017 the country adopted vaping as a pathway to help smokers quit tobacco.