New Zealand Set to Scrap World-First Tobacco Ban

New Zealand will abolish a world-first rule prohibiting tobacco sales for future generations on Tuesday, the government said, despite warnings from experts and activists about the danger of people dying as a consequence.

The harshest anti-tobacco laws in the world, set to go into effect in July, would have banned sales to anybody born after January 1, 2009, decreased nicotine concentration in smoked tobacco products, and reduced the number of tobacco outlets by more than 90%.

The new coalition government elected in October indicated that the repeal will take place on Tuesday as a matter of urgency, allowing it to abolish the legislation without soliciting public comment, as originally planned.

Associate Health Minister Casey Costello stated that the coalition administration was dedicated to eliminating smoking.

“I will soon be taking a package of measures to cabinet to increase the tools available to help people quit smoking,” Costello said, adding that regulations on vaping would also be tightened to deter young people.

The decision, heavily criticised over its likely impact on health outcomes in New Zealand, has also drawn flak because of fears it could have a greater impact on Maori and Pasifika populations, groups with higher smoking rates.

Repeal flies in the face of robust research evidence, ignores measures strongly supported by Maori leaders and will preserve health inequities, said Otago University researcher Janet Hoek.

“Large-scale clinical trials and modelling studies show the legislation would have rapidly increased the rates of quitting among smokers and made it much harder for young people to take up smoking,” said Hoek, co-director of a group studying ways to reduce smoking.

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Sydney Okafor

I am so passionate about this my profession as a broadcast journalist and voiceover artists and presently a reporter at TV360 Nigeria

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