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New Zealand to ban cigarettes for anyone born after 2008

In an effort to phase out smoking for good, New Zealand will be banning the sale of cigarettes to anyone born after 2008. Could this be the first of many international new laws?

Remember watching those health and safety videos on the dangers of smoking as a child? Ever thought twice about the unsightly warning messages plastered all over cigarette boxes?

Regardless of whether or not these deterrents actually help people to avoid smoking, New Zealand has decided to ramp things up a gear – by banning the sale of cigarettes altogether to anyone born after 2008.

Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verall explained that the move was to ‘make sure young people never start smoking’, and is part of a larger plan to phase the habit out entirely. Doctors have praised the move, describing it as ‘world leading’, however there are a few concerns.

For one, there is the possibility of a black market emerging for tobacco. A sudden gap in consumer goods is likely to be filled one way or another, and teens and young adults may begin to get their fix via illegal means.

Chairman of the Dairy and Business Owners Group, Sunny Kaushal, described it as ‘100% theory and 0% substance’, citing worry for the potential of a new crime wave.

This is on top of new, further restrictions to tobacco sales for everyone, not just those born after 2008. Shops authorised to sell cigarettes will be reduced from 8,000 to 500, and New Zealand has backed vaping as a way to steadily wean off tobacco addiction.

The new measures may seem extreme, but there is a possibility that they may become the standard practice for other countries moving forward, particularly if the numbers prove it works over the next few months, years, and decade.

Obviously we’ll have to wait to see the results of this move. No doubt there will be a significant drop in tobacco use, at least initially, but the real test will be controlling an inevitable black market surge of a newly illegal product.

I very much doubt places such as the UK will adopt such harsh measures, at least for now. It’ll be a while before the world catches on – but the death of the cigarette may just be on the horizon.

 

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