Wellington, New Zealand (AP) —The New Zealand Government believes it has made its own plans to quit smoking, a lifelong ban for people under the age of 14.
Under the new law announced by the government on Thursday and expected to pass next year, the minimum age to buy cigarettes will continue to rise year by year.
So, in theory, shoppers can buy cigarettes at least 65 years after the law goes into force, but only if they can prove that they are at least 80 years old. ..
In fact, authorities want smoking to disappear decades earlier. In fact, the plan sets a goal of smoking less than 5% of New Zealanders by 2025.
Other parts of the plan include allowing only tobacco products with very low nicotine levels to be sold and reducing the number of stores that can sell them. Changes will come over time to help retailers make adjustments.
The current minimum age for buying cigarettes in New Zealand is 18, so adolescents’ lifetime smoking cessation will not affect them for several years.
In an interview with the Associate Press, Dr. Aisha Veral, New Zealand’s Associate Health Minister, said her job at Wellington’s public hospital caused cancer in several smokers. He said it included telling that.
“Every day you meet someone who is facing the misery caused by cigarettes,” Veral said. The most terrifying way people die. I’m short of breath because of cigarettes. “
In New Zealand, smoking rates have been steadily declining over the years, with only about 11% of adults currently smoking and only 9% smoking daily. The daily rate of indigenous Maori remains much higher at 22%. A government plan will establish a task force to reduce Maori smoking.
In recent years, tobacco has already been taxed significantly, and there is a question as to why it shouldn’t be higher.
“I don’t think the tax increase will have any further impact,” Veral said. “It’s really hard to quit. I feel that if I quit, I would punish those who are crazy about tobacco.”
And tax measures tend to put a high burden on low-income people who are more likely to smoke, she said.
The new law does not affect vaping. Smoking is far more harmful and is the leading cause of preventable deaths in New Zealand, with up to 5,000 deaths each year, according to Veral.
“We think vaping is a really good exiting tool,” she said.
In New Zealand, the sale of vaping products is already restricted to those over the age of 18, and schools ban vaping. Verrall said there was some evidence of an increase in youth vaping. This is the tendency for her to follow “really closely”.
She said New Zealand’s approach to banning the next generation of smoking has not been tried elsewhere.
But she said studies show that raising the minimum age reduces youth sales. In the United States, the federal minimum age for purchasing tobacco products was raised from 18 to 21 two years ago.
Public health experts generally welcome New Zealand’s plans, but not everyone is happy with them.
Sunny Kaushall said some stores could be closed. Kaushal chairs the Dairy and Business Owners Group, which represents nearly 5,000 corner stores and gas stations, often referred to as dairy products in New Zealand.
“We all want a non-smoking New Zealand,” he said. “But this will have a big impact on small businesses. It shouldn’t be done, so it’s destroying dairy products, life and families in the process. It’s not the way.”
The tax hike on tobacco has created a black market that has already been abused by gangsters, and the problem will be exacerbated, Mr. Kaushall said. He said smoking is already in the dim light in New Zealand and will die on its own.
“This is being promoted by scholars,” he said, adding that stakeholders had not been consulted.
But Mr. Veral said he doesn’t think the government is overkill, as statistics show that the majority of smokers want to quit anyway and the new policies will only help them reach their goals. rice field.
She said the pandemic helped people gain new awareness of public health measures and the interests of the rally community, and perhaps that energy could be used not only to tackle smoking but also to illnesses like diabetes. Said.
Veral said he had never smoked himself, but his deceased grandmother had smoked, which could have harmed her health.
“It’s a really cruel product,” Verrall said.
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