World-First Generational Ban on Tobacco Established in New Zealand 
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The world’s first generational ban on tobacco law has been passed by the New Zealand government. The law will permanently outlaw the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products to anyone born after 2008, creating a “smoke-free generation” that will never legally be able to buy tobacco.

The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Bill is an important change to NZ’s tobacco regulations. It takes effect in 2023 and immediately limits the nicotine content of all smoked tobacco products to a “non-addictive” level of .8 mg per gram of tobacco – about 20 times less than “normal nicotine cigarettes” that have 15.8 mg/g, according to a study in 2019.

With this the regulators will get 12 months to eliminate 90% of the country’s licensed tobacco retailers, leaving only 600 points of sale in the country by the end of 2023.

What’s noteworthy is it will create a rolling age limit for smokers that will prevent anyone under the age of 14 on New Year’s Day from ever being able to buy tobacco legally on NZ soil.

Anyone who sells delivers, or even arranges for the delivery of smoked tobacco products to this “smoke-free generation” will be fined up to NZ$150,000 (US$96,700). Even giving a cigarette to somebody in this group in public will become an offense with fines of up to NZ$50,000 (US$32,200).

In the last 10 years, New Zealand’s national smoking rate has halved. It’s now down to about 8%. This is significantly less than the global smoking rate of 22.3%. According to WHO, tobacco is “one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced”. Not a single person who uses it will be spared from death, and actual numbers currently show that tobacco kills 7 million people each year – as well as 1.2 million people who are exposed to second-hand smoke. Smoking rates have also dropped in most high-income countries so more than 80% of smokers live in low- and middle-income countries today.

“This legislation will prevent tens of thousands of people from contracting smoking-related illnesses such as numerous types of cancers, heart attacks, strokes, and amputations,” said NZ associate health minister Dr. Ayesha Verrall. “We’ve done well as a country to get to this point. But there’s still more work to do.”

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