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Deputy Health Minister Ayesha Veral told a news conference on Thursday that the legal age to buy cigarettes would be gradually raised under the proposed new law.
“We want to prevent youth from starting smoking, so it is illegal to sell or supply smokeless tobacco products to a new youth group,” she said. “People under the age of 14 cannot legally buy tobacco when the law is in force.”
The government plans to submit a bill to Congress in 2022 as part of a campaign to reduce the prevalence of smoking in the community to less than 5% by 2025.
According to government statistics, 13.4% of New Zealand’s adult population is classified as a smoker. This is down from 18.2% in 2011/12.
However, according to the Ministry of Health, between 4,000 and 5,000 people die each year from smoking-related diseases.
“Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death in New Zealand and causes cancer in 1 in 4 people,” Veral said. “Smoking-related harm is especially prevalent in our forests, Pacific and low-income communities.”
According to the ministry, about 32 percent of forest women smoke. This is the highest percentage in the country. 25% men in the forest.
In addition to the bill, Mr Veral said the government would prioritize “practical support measures” to help smokers quit.
This includes only allowing the manufacture, importation and sale of products with very low nicotine levels, and more stringent restrictions on tobacco advertising. Along with this, the number of stores selling tobacco products will also come down significantly.
The law does not cover vaping, which is popular among New Zealand youth. According to a November report from the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ, about 20% of students smoke e-cigarettes daily and 57% feel their health is being negatively impacted.
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Smoking cessation in New Zealand: the state’s plan to ban smoking for future generations
Source link Smoking cessation in New Zealand: the state’s plan to ban smoking for future generations