- New Zealand is considering a blanket ban on the sale of cigarettes to all citizens born after 2008
- The Pacific country is looking to cutting down on smoking to ensure young people never start smoking
- Saffas reacted to the news with amusement online, dumbing down the possibility of a similar ban in SA
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New Zealand is contemplating a groundbreaking move to do away with the ills of smoking among its citizens as of Thursday.
The Oceania country's government announced that it wants to impose a ban to keep the population of young people in the country from ever buying cigarettes in their lifetime.
Daily Maverick reported that New Zealand's crackdown is one of the world's toughest on the tobacco industry, presenting the argument that other efforts to do away with the dreaded lifestyle undertaking were not materialising quickly enough.
Briefly News understands the law will be imposed in 2022, meaning people aged 14 will be unable to purchase cigarettes in the country of five million.
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Young people should never smoke
That is, anyone born after 2008 will be hindered from making such purchases legally or of any tobacco-based products in their lifetime, with the prospect of facing prosecution should they fail to adhere to the strict restriction.
Further to the heavy-handed approach, the level of nicotine will be reduced in all cigarettes presently on sale, according to BBC News.
“We want to ensure young people never start smoking. So, we will make it an offence to sell or supply smoked tobacco products to the emerging youth,” said New Zealand Associate Minister of Health Ayesha Verrall.
The government will consult with a task force in the country in the months ahead before introducing legislation into parliament in June 2022 to pass it within six months from then.
Doctors and other experts back move
The retail tobacco industry in New Zealand will mimic that of Bhutan in making it one of the world’s most restricted in the world. Meanwhile, Australia was the first country in the world to mandate plain packaging of cigarettes in 2012.
While existing measures like plain packaging and levies on cigarette sales had slowed tobacco consumption, the New Zealand government said, the country was unlikely to achieve its goal of under five per cent of the population smoking daily by 2025 without further steps.
Doctors and other health experts in the country, including Professor Janet Hook from the University of Otago, agreed with the move and described the reforms as "world-leading."
"It will help people quit or switch to less harmful products and make it much less likely that young people get addicted to nicotine," said Hook.
South Africans shrug off ban
Observers on social media in South Africa took the time to express their two cents' worth on the landmark announcement. Briefly News took to gathering all the colourful reactions below.
@Leanne Rencken Mills wrote:
"New Zealand has become a prison country. Taking away your right to choose."
@Erna Eygel said:
"Through experience, we all know that will never work in SA!"
@Jasper Selkirk added:
"Prohibition never works unless it's backed by extreme violence and even then (as is the case with America) still fails regularly. Only thing prohibition does is hand the market over to criminals."
@Angela Brinkley observed:
"If this was in SA, no one would bat an eyelid as there are so many ways to get ciggies, banned or not."
@Louwrens Nieuwoudt mentioned:
"Just driving the price of cigarettes up.. Learn from the SA experiment."
Stricter cigarette laws on the cards in SA
Elsewhere, Briefly News previously reported that the South African government is mulling a slew of laws to clamp down on smoking. The Department of Health wants to change how easily cigarettes can be bought and smoked in the country.
A proposed blanket ban is being proposed that will affect how tobacco products are advertised and sold and as well as how people consume them. The Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill has three main aims and has been discussed since 2018, according to Jacarand FM.
The objective are:
- Greater regulation of e-cigarettes and vaping paraphernalia;
- A total ban on smoking in public and;
- Limiting the use, sale and marketing of certain tobacco products.
Source: Briefly News