Watch live: government to ban sale of tobacco to young people for their lives

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The government will ban young people from being able to buy tobacco in their lifetimes as part of new plans to make New Zealand smoke-free.

Older generations will only be able to buy ultra-low nicotine tobacco products, and fewer stores will be able to sell tobacco products, Associate Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall said on Thursday as part of the new Smoke-Free 2025 action plan in Parliament.

“We want to make sure that young people never start smoking, so we are going to criminalize the sale or provision of smoking tobacco products to new cohorts of young people,” she said. “People aged 14 when the law comes into effect will never be able to legally buy tobacco. “

A generation of young people will never be able to legally buy tobacco as part of a plan to make New Zealand smoke-free.

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A generation of young people will never be able to legally buy tobacco as part of a plan to make New Zealand smoke-free.

More needs to be done to prevent young people from starting to smoke in the first place and to make it less addicting and less appealing, she said.

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Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in New Zealand and causes one in four cancer.

“As smoking rates move in the right direction, we need to do more, faster to reach our goal. If nothing changes, it will be decades before Maori smoking rates drop below 5% and this government is not prepared to leave anyone behind. “

Associate Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall announced drastic new plans to quit smoking (file photo)

ROBERT KITCHIN / Tips

Associate Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall announced drastic new plans to quit smoking (file photo)

There will be around $ 5 billion in savings on future health care spending from these plans, Verrall said.

Some decisions in the plan are not legislative, such as practical supports for smokers, but others will require changes to existing legislation.

This includes measures to ensure that smoked tobacco products will only be sold through authorized retailers, that only ultra-low nicotine smoked tobacco products will be permitted for manufacture, import, distribution and sale. , and plans to restrict design measures to improve the attractiveness and reliance on smoked products.

Previous modeling indicates that New Zealand will not meet its smoke-free target by 2025, and Maori will not meet it until 2061.

The changes will not take effect immediately, giving retailers time to transition to a new business model, she said.

The changes will still have to go through the legislative process.

The government will also establish a Maori Advisory Working Group to Achieve Better Results for Maori, chaired by Dame Tariana Turia, and hold the Ministry of Health, government and tobacco control industry to report on the plan. .

A Pacific advisory group will also be established in the new year.


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