New Zealand will outlaw the sale of tobacco to the next generation in an effort to finally phase out smoking. Everyone born after 2008 will be prohibited to purchase cigarettes or tobacco products during their lifetime, according to legislation expected to be implemented next year. “We want to make sure young people never start smoking,” Health Minister Dr. Ayesha Verall said. Doctors and other health professionals in the country have praised the “world-leading” rules that will limit tobacco access and nicotine levels in cigarettes. “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. In New Zealand, around 13 percent of adults smoke presently, compared to roughly 18 percent a decade ago. The percentage among the indigenous Maori population, on the other hand, is far greater – over 31% – and they also have a higher rate of disease and death. On December 9, 2021, the government announced tough tobacco restrictions as part of the campaign, including limiting where cigarettes can be sold and removing them from supermarkets and local businesses.