New Zealand has taken drastic action that could make them the most hardline anti-smoking country in the world.
It’s introduced a new Smokefree 2025 Plan, which means from 2025, those 14 years or younger won’t be allowed to buy cigarettes in their entire lifetime.
NZ is taking a creeping age ban strategy, moving the age limit up each year. By 2050 those younger than 39 won’t be allowed to buy tobacco products. By 2080 only those aged 69+ will be allowed to buy tobacco. By the end of the century tobacco sales will basically become a thing of the past, unless you’re smoking in your 80s and 90s.
Data shows smoking kills around 20,000 people each year and wipes 10 years of life expectancy. Around 11.6 percent of New Zealanders smoke everyday (the same figure in Oz), but for the Maori population, the figure jumps to 31 percent. Maoris also suffer a much higher rate of disease and death.
“The Action Plan is very good news…it could just be the single most significant step we take as a nation to reducing preventable death and disease and reducing health inequities in the next few years.”
Chris Bullen, Professor of Public Health from the University of Auckland comments on the proposal
The move raises many questions around how it fits with the country’s more liberal vaping policy and the fact vaping has become prevalent among young people.
Do you think NZ is missing the point and should be tackling vaping? Or should their hard line against smoking be a blueprint for the rest of the world to follow?