AP

New Zealand imposes lifetime ban on youth buying cigarettes

Dec 13, 2022, 12:44 AM | Updated: 12:45 am

FILE - A man sits while smoking in Auckland, New Zealand, Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021. New Zealand on Tu...

FILE - A man sits while smoking in Auckland, New Zealand, Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021. New Zealand on Tuesday passed into law a unique plan to phase out tobacco smoking by imposing a lifetime ban on young people buying cigarettes. (AP Photo/David Rowland, File)

(AP Photo/David Rowland, File)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand on Tuesday passed into law a unique plan to phase out tobacco smoking by imposing a lifetime ban on young people buying cigarettes.

The law states that tobacco can’t ever be sold to anybody born on or after Jan. 1, 2009.

It means the minimum age for buying cigarettes will keep going up and up. In theory, somebody trying to buy a pack of cigarettes 50 years from now would need ID to show they were at least 63 years old.

But health authorities hope smoking will fade away well before then. They have a stated goal of making New Zealand smoke-free by 2025.

The new law also reduces the number of retailers allowed to sell tobacco from about 6,000 to 600 and decreases the amount of nicotine allowed in tobacco that is smoked.

“There is no good reason to allow a product to be sold that kills half the people that use it,” Associate Minister of Health Dr. Ayesha Verrall told lawmakers in Parliament. “And I can tell you that we will end this in the future, as we pass this legislation.”

She said the health system would save billions of dollars from not needing to treat illnesses caused by smoking, such as cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and amputations. She said the bill would create generational change and leave a legacy of better health for youth.

Lawmakers voted along party lines in passing the legislation 76 to 43.

The libertarian ACT party, which opposed the bill, said many small corner stores, known in New Zealand as dairies, would go out of business because they would no longer be able to sell cigarettes.

“We stand opposed to this bill because it’s a bad bill and its bad policy, its that straightforward and simple,” said Brooke van Velden, ACT’s deputy leader. “There won’t be better outcomes for New Zealanders.”

She said the gradual ban amounted to “nanny-state prohibition” that would end up creating a large black market. She said prohibition never worked and always ended with unintended consequences.

The law does not affect vaping, which has already become more popular than smoking in New Zealand.

Statistics New Zealand reported last month that 8% of New Zealand adults smoked daily, down from 16% ten years ago. Meanwhile, 8.3% of adults vaped daily, up from less than 1% six years ago.

Smoking rates remain higher among Indigenous Maori, with about 20% reporting they smoked.

New Zealand already restricts cigarette sales to those aged 18 and over, requires tobacco packs to come with graphic health warnings and cigarettes to be sold in standardized packs.

New Zealand in recent years also imposed a series of hefty tax hikes on cigarettes.

The law change was welcomed by several health agencies. Health Coalition Aotearoa said the new law represented the culmination of decades of hard-fought advocacy by health and community organizations.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Arizona and New York attorneys feud over extraditing suspect...

Associated Press

Why Alvin Bragg and Rachel Mitchell are fighting over extraditing suspect in New York hotel killing

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell says she isn't into extraditing a suspect due to her lack of faith in Manhattan’s top prosecutor.

3 days ago

A Gila monster is displayed at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Dec. 14, 2018. A 34-year-old Color...

Associated Press

Colorado man dies after being bitten by pet Gila monster

A Colorado man has died after being bitten by his pet Gila monster in what would be a rare death by one of the desert lizards if the creature's venom turns out to have been the cause.

4 days ago

Police clear the area following a shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs NFL football Super Bowl celebr...

Associated Press

1 dead, many wounded after shooting at Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory parade

One person died after 22 people were hit by gunfire in a shooting at the end of the Kansas Chiefs' Super Bowl victory celebration Wednesday.

11 days ago

This image from House Television shows House Speaker Mike Johnson of La., banging the gavel after h...

Associated Press

GOP-led House impeaches Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas — by one vote — over border management

Having failed to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas the first time, House Republicans are determined to try again Tuesday.

12 days ago

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, right, and Kenya's Defense Minister Aden Duale, left, listen during...

Associated Press

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hospitalized with bladder issue

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been hospitalized following symptoms pointing to an “emergent bladder issue."

14 days ago

Joel Osteen, the pastor of Lakewood Church, stands with his wife, Victoria Osteen, as he conducts a...

Associated Press

Woman firing rifle killed by 2 off-duty officers at Houston’s Lakewood Church run by Joel Osteen

A woman entered the Texas megachurch of Joel Osteen and started shooting with a rifle Sunday and was killed by two off-duty officers.

14 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

New Zealand imposes lifetime ban on youth buying cigarettes