New Zealand on Tuesday passed a Bill to ban the sale of cigarettes or tobacco products to anyone born after 2008, Reuters reported. The ban will remain in place for a person’s whole life.
Health Minister Ayesha Verrall, who introduced the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Bill, said that the move was a step towards a smoke-free future, the BBC reported.
“Thousands of people will live longer, healthier lives and the health system will be NZ$5 billion [over Rs 26,000 crore] better off from not needing to treat the illnesses caused by smoking,” Verrall said.
Besides the ban, the Bill also calls for reducing the amount of nicotine allowed in smoked tobacco products and reducing the number of retailers selling tobacco products in New Zealand from 6,000 to 600.
The laws are part of New Zealand’s government push to make the country smoke-free by 2025, reported Reuters.
According to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, an intergovernmental organisation of 38 countries, New Zealand already has one of the lowest smoking rates among adults.
ACT New Zealand, which is in Opposition, claimed that the law would reduce business for small shops and force people to buy products illegally, according to Reuters.
“No one wants to see people smoke, but the reality is some will,” party leader Brooke van Velden said. “And Labour’s nanny state prohibition is going to cause problems.”