New Zealand’s new tobacco ban goes into effect

(ORDO NEWS) — New legislation in New Zealand would mean that anyone born on or after 1 January 2009 will never be able to buy tobacco products.

With the aim of creating a completely smoke-free generation, the Smoke-Free Environment and Controlled Products Amendment Bill is the first in the world to prevent the sale and distribution of tobacco products in this unusual way.

In addition to preventing young New Zealanders from accessing tobacco, the law will also reduce the amount of nicotine in smoked tobacco products and reduce the number of tobacco retailers.

“This means that nicotine levels will be reduced to non-addictive levels and communities will be free from the proliferation and congestion of retailers who target tobacco products and sell them in certain areas,” Deputy Health Minister Ayeshi Werrall said.

A survey of 25 retailers who decided to stop selling tobacco found that 88 percent experienced either a neutral or positive financial impact. This speaks to the potential economic implications of the new law.

In addition, the law is believed to save the health care system $5 billion by preventing the need for treatment for smoking-related diseases.

The new measures also aim to reduce the gap in life expectancy for Maori women by 25 per cent and by 10 per cent for Maori men.

Through increased access to health care and targeted campaigns in Maori and Pacific communities, government officials hope to improve health care in communities most affected by the effects of tobacco addiction.

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