New Zealand wants to ban smoking by law for future generations. The parliament in the capital Wellington passed a corresponding package of laws on Tuesday. According to it, tobacco may no longer be sold to people born on or after January 1, 2009.
The new laws are to come into force next year. New Zealand's government led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wants to make the country "smoke-free" by 2025.
The number of licensed tobacco outlets is also to be reduced from 6,000 to 600 by the end of 2023. In addition, the nicotine content in tobacco-containing products is to be reduced.
The measures are among the strictest in the world: violations can result in fines of up to $150,000 (the equivalent of about 91,000 euros)
"There is no good reason to allow the sale of a product that kills half the people who use it," Deputy Health Minister Ayesha Verrall told parliament. New Zealand's health care system will also save billions if diseases such as cancer, heart attacks and strokes, which can also be caused by smoking, no longer need to be treated, she said.
According to the Statistics Authority, eight percent of all New Zealanders smoke daily. In 2021, 9.4 percent of the population still reached for a cigarette.
Image by Gerd Altmann