As per a November 27 report from the BBC, the recently established government of New Zealand is planning to eliminate the country’s pioneering legislation aimed at preventing the younger generation from smoking. This move is intended to contribute to funding tax cuts.
The news organization highlighted that many health experts and public health officials within the nation are of the opinion that the choice will ultimately result in the loss of thousands of lives and have disastrous implications for Maori communities.
In the year 2022, New Zealand passed legislation implementing a progressively increasing legal smoking age, preventing individuals born after January 2009 from purchasing cigarettes within the bounds of the law.
Officials from the government clarified that the legislation was formulated to safeguard the country’s health system from incurring billions of dollars in costs by averting numerous deaths associated with smoking.
The legislation included additional measures to render smoking less accessible and economical. This encompassed a decrease in the permissible amount of nicotine in all tobacco products, restricting their sale solely to designated tobacco outlets.
An additional step, criticized by numerous New Zealand business proprietors, involved reducing the count of stores permitted to vend cigarettes across the entire country.
The implementation of these fresh regulations was scheduled for July 2024. Nevertheless, the newly appointed government has decided to revoke the changes. The recently appointed Finance Minister, Nicola Willis, stated that the proceeds from cigarette sales would contribute to the tax cuts.
He clarified that the array of limitations and the decrease in the number of stores legally authorized to sell tobacco products will diminish revenue for the government.
Richard Edwards, a public health expert and researcher in tobacco control at the University of Otago, expressed that numerous professionals in the field find the decision to be repulsive and appalling.
Edwards further clarified that the overwhelming majority of health organizations in New Zealand are experiencing concern and disappointment. In response to inquiries about any initiatives being taken, the professor mentioned that they have already urged the government to reconsider its decision.