NewsCigarette Ban for Young New Zealanders - Will the Prohibition Only Make...

Cigarette Ban for Young New Zealanders – Will the Prohibition Only Make Things Worse?

New Zealand is taking action to advance its intent to phase out smoking in the country. One such action is banning the sale of tobacco to anyone born after 2008. To be clear, any person born after 2008 will not be able to buy tobacco products in his or her lifetime.  

The government will enact the law in the following year, and the Health Minister, Dr. Ayesha Verall, has said that they want to make sure that people, especially the young ones, will never start smoking, much less make it a habit. 

This law is part of a crackdown on the country’s smoking problem. People in the medical industry welcomed the announcement and these reforms, calling it a world-leading initiative.

Medical professionals believe that this will reduce young people’s access to tobacco products. The ultimate result of the law is the restriction of nicotine to people who have never had it before, thus preventing the development of addiction to it.  

One professor from the University of Otago, Jane Hook, said that it would help people quit. The ban will force people to switch to non-tobacco products like Grinds tobacco nicotine-free dip and chew, and that young people are less likely to get addicted to it.

People responded with mixed reactions to the ban. Some said it was a good move, and some compared smoking addiction to a gambling problem: while gambling on licensed sites like one can get professional assistance from the institutions like BeGambleAware and GgamblersAnonymous, so a total ban may not be necessary. Others like the law because many kids today develop the habit at such a young age. The public is asking how these children are buying these cigarettes. 

Some smokers say it is good for them as they will save money if they stop smoking. Others, however, say that the new law will only push people to engage in a black market for tobacco products. They say that once the law is in place, border control will need more people to enforce the ban. 

The chairman of the Dairy and Business Owners Group, Sunny Kaushal, has said that the law is all theory and 0% substance. The group is comprised of convenience stores. Some believe that this law will start a crime wave—that criminals and gang members will fill the gap in the tobacco supply chain. The logic is that criminals will take over the sale of tobacco illegally. 

The government, however, is determined to achieve one goal: to reduce the national smoking rate by 5% by 2025. The final objective here is to eventually remove smoking altogether. It is a tall order, and many are sceptical as to how successful it will be. These new laws will halve the country’s smoking rate in ten years. 

Right now, 13% of adult people from New Zealand have a smoking habit. The rate is much higher in a particular group, the Maori people. According to statistical research, more than a third of the Maori population are smokers. They also suffer from a high rate of diseases and death.

Health officials say that if they do not do anything, it will take decades before the smoking rate of the Maori people falls below 5%.

Before the implementation, the government will have several consultation sessions with a Maori representative. They will work with the people and make some adjustments before this new action becomes law by the end of 2022. 

If this becomes law, it is one of the most restrictive laws in the world as far as the tobacco industry is concerned. Bhutan has the most restrictive law where the sale of tobacco is outright banned. Australia, New Zealand’s neighbour, made packaging of cigarettes as plain as could be back in 2012. 

The New Zealand government says that there are existing measures. For example, they also have plain packaging and also high levies on tobacco products. These measures slowed down tobacco consumption, but it was not enough. 

The health ministry detox florida representative of the country stated that smoking causes one of four cancer cases. It is the leading cause of death, and yet it is preventable. The country has a population of five million people, and the tobacco industry has been a topic of debate for more than ten years now. 

Apart from the ban, the government is also introducing some new laws. For one, the sale of tobacco products like cigarettes will no longer be allowed in supermarkets and corner stores. What it means is that adults who smoke will find it more difficult to find tobacco supplies. 

Once the laws are in place, there will only be around 500 retail outlets authorized to sell tobacco products. This reduction is drastic, as there are currently 8,000 shops legitimately selling cigarettes.

In addition to this growing problem, e-cigarettes have been making the rounds in the market. Young people have been using them as an alternative to smoking, yet these products also contain nicotine. E-cigarettes are devices that produce vapour, which people inhale like tobacco smoke.

Authorities cannot ban them, as no substantial scientific study proves their harm. However, health authorities still warn people about it, as the liquid in the products comes with cancer-causing agents.

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