In an effort to finally phase out smoking, New Zealand will prohibit the selling of tobacco to the next generation. According to a regulation anticipated to be adopted next year, everyone born after 2008 will be unable to purchase cigarettes or tobacco products during their lifetime. “We want to make sure young people never start smoking,” Health Minister Dr. Ayesha Verall said. New Zealand’s health ministry has announced the move as part of a broad anti-smoking campaign. Doctors and other health experts in the country have applauded the “world-leading” regulations that will curb tobacco access and limit cigarette nicotine levels. “It will help people quit or switch to less harmful products, and make it much less likely that young people get addicted to nicotine,” said Prof Janet Hook from the University of Otago.

New Zealand is committed to meeting a national objective of reducing smoking rates to 5% by 2025, with the goal of eventually eliminating the practice entirely. Approximately 13% of adults in New Zealand smoke now, compared to 18% roughly a decade earlier. However, among the indigenous Maori population, the percentage is substantially higher – around 31% – and they also have a higher prevalence of disease and death. The government announced severe tobacco curbs as part of the campaign on December 9, 2021, including significantly restricting where cigarettes may be sold, removing them from supermarkets and neighborhood stores. Officials believe the number of outlets authorized to sell cigarettes will be substantially cut, from around 8,000 today to approximately 500.