AP

New Zealand imposes lifetime ban on youth buying cigarettes

Dec 12, 2022, 9:44 AM | Updated: 11:45 pm

FILE - A man sits while smoking in Auckland, New Zealand, Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021. New Zealand on Tu...

FILE - A man sits while smoking in Auckland, New Zealand, Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021. New Zealand on Tuesday passed into law a unique plan to phase out tobacco smoking by imposing a lifetime ban on young people buying cigarettes. (AP Photo/David Rowland, File)

(AP Photo/David Rowland, File)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand on Tuesday passed into law a unique plan to phase out tobacco smoking by imposing a lifetime ban on young people buying cigarettes.

The law states that tobacco can’t ever be sold to anybody born on or after Jan. 1, 2009.

It means the minimum age for buying cigarettes will keep going up and up. In theory, somebody trying to buy a pack of cigarettes 50 years from now would need ID to show they were at least 63 years old.

But health authorities hope smoking will fade away well before then. They have a stated goal of making New Zealand smoke-free by 2025.

The new law also reduces the number of retailers allowed to sell tobacco from about 6,000 to 600 and decreases the amount of nicotine allowed in tobacco that is smoked.

“There is no good reason to allow a product to be sold that kills half the people that use it,” Associate Minister of Health Dr. Ayesha Verrall told lawmakers in Parliament. “And I can tell you that we will end this in the future, as we pass this legislation.”

She said the health system would save billions of dollars from not needing to treat illnesses caused by smoking, such as cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and amputations. She said the bill would create generational change and leave a legacy of better health for youth.

Lawmakers voted along party lines in passing the legislation 76 to 43.

The libertarian ACT party, which opposed the bill, said many small corner stores, known in New Zealand as dairies, would go out of business because they would no longer be able to sell cigarettes.

“We stand opposed to this bill because it’s a bad bill and its bad policy, its that straightforward and simple,” said Brooke van Velden, ACT’s deputy leader. “There won’t be better outcomes for New Zealanders.”

She said the gradual ban amounted to “nanny-state prohibition” that would end up creating a large black market. She said prohibition never worked and always ended with unintended consequences.

The law does not affect vaping, which has already become more popular than smoking in New Zealand.

Statistics New Zealand reported last month that 8% of New Zealand adults smoked daily, down from 16% ten years ago. Meanwhile, 8.3% of adults vaped daily, up from less than 1% six years ago.

Smoking rates remain higher among Indigenous Maori, with about 20% reporting they smoked.

New Zealand already restricts cigarette sales to those aged 18 and over, requires tobacco packs to come with graphic health warnings and cigarettes to be sold in standardized packs.

New Zealand in recent years also imposed a series of hefty tax hikes on cigarettes.

The law change was welcomed by several health agencies. Health Coalition Aotearoa said the new law represented the culmination of decades of hard-fought advocacy by health and community organizations.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

moore redmond washington...

Associated Press

U.S. Supreme Court rules against Redmond couple challenging foreign income tax

The court ruled in the case of Charles and Kathleen Moore, of Redmond, Washington after they previously challenged a $15,000 tax bill.

3 days ago

Image:The New York Giants' Willie Mays poses for a photo during baseball spring training in 1972. M...

Associated Press

Willie Mays, Giants’ electrifying ‘Say Hey Kid,’ dies at 93

Willie Mays, whose singular combination of talent, drive and exuberance made him one of baseball’s greatest players, has died. He was 93.

5 days ago

Image: This photo provided by the Washington Department of Ecology shows a derailed BNSF train on t...

Associated Press

Judge orders BNSF to pay Washington tribe nearly $400M for trespassing with oil trains

BNSF Railway must pay the sum to a Native American tribe in Washington after it ran 100-car trains with crude oil on the tribe's reservation.

6 days ago

Photo: In this photo provided by Tieanna Joseph Cade, an amusement park ride is shown stuck with 30...

Associated Press

Crews rescue 28 people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride

Emergency crews in Oregon rescued 28 people after they were stuck dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park.

6 days ago

juneteenth shooting texas...

Associated Press

2 killed and 6 wounded in shooting during a Juneteenth celebration in a Texas park

A shooting in a Texas park left two people dead and six wounded, including two children, on Saturday, authorities said.

7 days ago

Photo: Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Wednesday, J...

Jack Jeffery, The Associated Press

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months

An explosion in Gaza killed eight Israeli soldiers, the military said Saturday, making it the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.

8 days ago

New Zealand imposes lifetime ban on youth buying cigarettes