People aged 14 and under in 2027 might never legally be able to buy cigarettes in New Zealand as the country aims to create a “smoke-free” generation.
New Zealand announced on Thursday plans to prohibit today’s children from legally purchasing cigarettes in their lifetime.
How will New Zealand ban cigarette sales?
Currently, New Zealand outlaws tobacco sales to people under the age of 18. But starting in 2027, the age-based ban would increase annually to keep a generation away from smoking, Verral said.
New Zealand will also move to restrict where tobacco is sold and only allow the sales of products with low nicotine levels, she added.
A sharp reduction in the number of authorized nicotine sellers is expected to be rolled out in stages starting in 2024.
In 2025, the reduced nicotine requirements will begin taking effect. By 2027, New Zealand will have created its “smoke-free” generation, Verral said.
New Zealand’s retail tobacco industry is already among the most restricted in the world — just after Bhutan, which has a complete ban on cigarette sales. But the government said tougher steps are needed to achieve its goal of fewer than 5% of the population smoking daily by 2025.
The government expects that the new rules will halve New Zealand’s smoking rates in as few as 10 years from when they take effect.
The plan is set to be introduced into parliament in June next year as the government aims to get it signed into law by the end of 2022.