Health Medical

New Zealand passes law to ban sale of cigarettes

New Zealand cigarette ban

HQ Team

December 14, 2022: New Zealand has passed a law to ban cigarettes in the island country by 2025.

The government plans to reduce the amount of nicotine allowed in smoked tobacco products, decrease the number of retailers selling tobacco, and ensure the tobacco is not sold to anyone born on or after January 1 2009.

The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Bill will cut down the number of retailers around the country that can sell tobacco to a tenth of the 6000 now. 

This legislation mandates a maximum of 600 tobacco retailers by the end of next year, according to a government statement.

Benefit to health system

“Thousands of people will live longer, healthier lives, and the health system will be $5 billion better off from not needing to treat the illnesses caused by smoking, such as numerous types of cancer, heart attacks, strokes, amputations,” Associate Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall said.

The government will reduce nicotine to “non-addictive levels”, and communities will be free from the proliferation and clustering of retailers who target and sell tobacco products in certain areas.

New Zealand’s smoking rate is already low, with just 8% of adults smoking daily. This is down from 9.4% a year ago and half the rate compared to 10 years ago. The number of people smoking fell by 56,000 over the past year.

“Many retailers around the country have already opted to stop selling tobacco. Ngā Tai Ora Public Health Unit in Northland did a survey looking at 25 retailers who made a choice to end the sale of tobacco, of which 88% experienced either a neutral or positive financial impact.”

Equitable health

“These measures are important for equitable health for Māori. They will close the life expectancy gap for Māori women by 25% and 10% for Māori men,” the minister said.

“We’ve done well as a country to get to this point, but there is more to do. That’s why the legislation passed today is so important, it puts us firmly on the path to Smokefree 2025,” Dr Ayesha said.

The government initiated the Smokefree 2025 Action Plan in December last year.

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