ISLAMABAD: To protect people especially youth from the harmful effects of smoking, New Zealand government says it will ban sale of tobacco to its future generations.
In a statement, Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verall said that the ban will be effective on those born after 2008. They will not be able to purchase cigarettes or tobacco products ever in their life.
A law in this regard will be enacted in 2022. She said: “Government wants to make sure youth never begin smoking.”
She added that smoking causes one in four cancers and remains the major reason of preventable death for its five million population. The cigarette industry has been the target of lawmakers for over a decade now.
The step is connected with a sweeping crackdown on smoking declared by the Kiwi health ministry. Health experts and physicians have hailed the reforms and term them ‘world-leading’. They said the move will diminish access to tobacco and restrict nicotine levels in cigarettes.
The public gave mixed reactions to the government’s move with some saying there are a lot of teenagers walking around with cigarettes in their mouths. But some warned that this decision will create a black market for tobacco a fact people in the health ministry also admit. Citizens also urged the federal customs to enforce strict border control for any type of smuggling.
At present, 13 percent of the country’s adults smoke, with the rate much bigger among the indigenous Maori population, where it jacks up to almost a third. The indigenous population also faces a higher rate of disease and death.
New Zealand is committed to achieving a national goal of minimizing its national smoking rate to five percent by 2025, with the aim of finally eradicating it completely.