New Zealand set to scrap world-first tobacco ban
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[February 27, 2024]
By Lucy Craymer
WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand will repeal on Tuesday a world-first
law banning tobacco sales for future generations, the government said,
even while researchers and campaigners warned of the risk that people
could die as a result.
Set to take effect from July, the toughest anti-tobacco rules in the
world would have banned sales to those born after Jan. 1, 2009, cut
nicotine content in smoked tobacco products and reduced the number of
tobacco retailers by more than 90%.
The new coalition government elected in October confirmed the repeal
will happen on Tuesday as a matter of urgency, enabling it to scrap the
law without seeking public comment, in line with previously announced
Associate Health Minister Casey Costello said the coalition government
was committed to reducing smoking, but was taking a different regulatory
approach to discourage the habit and reduce the harm it caused.
"I will soon be taking a package of measures to cabinet to increase the
tools available to help people quit smoking," Costello said, adding that
regulations on vaping would also be tightened to deter young people.
The decision, heavily criticized over its likely impact on health
outcomes in New Zealand, has also drawn flak because of fears it could
have a greater impact on Maori and Pasifika populations, groups with
higher smoking rates.
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An illustration picture shows cigarettes in their pack, October 8,
2014. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/Illustration/File Photo
Repeal flies in the face of robust
research evidence, ignores measures strongly supported by Maori
leaders and will preserve health inequities, said Otago University
researcher Janet Hoek.
"Large-scale clinical trials and modeling studies show the
legislation would have rapidly increased the rates of quitting among
smokers and made it much harder for young people to take up
smoking," said Hoek, co-director of a group studying ways to reduce
(Reporting by Lucy Craymer; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
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