The New Zealand government is looking forward to completely eliminate smoking by 2025 with a plan to combat tobacco addiction in the country.
According to the country's Ministry of Health, an entirely non-smoking generation must grow in New Zealand through a compulsory ban for which they have come up with a 'Proposal for a Smoke-free Aotearoa 2025 Action Plan.' The idea is to ban smoking for anyone born after 2004.
Associate Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall said the country needs a new approach to address the problem, with some 4,500 New Zealanders dying each year from the effects of tobacco smoking. The idea of the authorities is to raise the legal age of smoking, reduce the percentage of nicotine found in tobacco products, and limit where tobacco and cigarettes can be sold. Verrall added that the best way to achieve a smoke-free future is to prevent people from ever starting to smoke.
"Over 75 per cent of smokers have tried to quit, but smoking is primarily driven by addiction. This makes quitting extremely difficult even though most smokers want to do so," Dr Verrall told fox8 news.
"A smoke-free generation policy would prohibit the sale, and the supply in a public place, of smoked tobacco products to new cohorts from a specified date. For example, if legislation commenced on 1 January 2022, then people younger than 18 years at that time or those born after January 1, 2004 would never be able to lawfully be sold smoked tobacco products. This option would grandfather existing smokers, but the supply of new smokers would cease. This would effectively phase out the legal sale of smoked tobacco products over many years," reads the proposal.
The proposed action plan also intends to eliminate imbalances in smoking rates and smoking-related illnesses, increase the number of children and young people who remain smoke-free and build up the number of people who successfully quit smoking.
Cancer Society chief executive Lucy Elwood said that tobacco being the most harmful consumer product in history and sold alongside everyday grocery items, should be abandoned altogether.
However, businessmen disagree with the initiative claiming that declining cigarette sales would result in immense losses and a surge in the illegal sales of counterfeit tobacco products.