Repeal of the smoking ban law in New Zealand / Health experts criticize the change of the new government

2023-11-27 08:39:00, Kosova & Bota CNA
Repeal of the smoking ban law in New Zealand / Health experts criticize the
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New Zealand's new government has announced it will lift the country's smoking ban to help fund tax cuts.

The legislation, introduced under the previous government led by Jacinda Ardern, planned to ban cigarette sales next year to anyone born after 2008.

Smoking is the leading cause of death in New Zealand and the policy was aimed at stopping younger generations from taking up the habit.

The change has shocked health experts.

Public health modeling had suggested that smoke-free laws would save up to 5,000 lives each year.

A national Maori health organisation, H?pai Te Hauora, called it an "unconscionable blow to the health and well-being of all people".

Rates of smoking and related illnesses and health problems are highest among New Zealand's indigenous Maori population, for whom experts had said the policy would have the most positive impact.

Along with banning tobacco sales to younger generations, the legislation would have removed tobacco products from 90% of shops that currently sell them in New Zealand and would also regulate cigarettes to have a lower amount of nicotine in them.

New Zealand's smoke-free policy is believed to have inspired the UK government in September to announce a similar youth smoking ban.

Public health modeling carried out in 2022 had shown that the smoke-free policy would have saved New Zealand's health system about NZ$1.3 billion (£630m; $790m) over the next 20 years.

New Zealand still aims to reduce its national smoking rate to 5% by 2025, with the aim of eventually eliminating it altogether.

More than 80,000 adults quit smoking last year, its national data shows. Currently, about 8% of its adult population smokes./ CNA

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