Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Smoking also increases risk for tuberculosis, certain eye diseases, and problems of the immune system, including rheumatoid arthritis.
Therefore, The New Zealand government has passed a law to completely end tobacco smoking by banning youth from buying cigarettes for life. The Smoke Free Environments and Regulated Products (Smoking Tobacco) Amendment Bill has been passed in New Zealand which aims to make New Zealand smoke free by 2025.
According to The Guardian, the number of stores legally permitted to sell cigarettes will be reduced by a tenth, from 6,000 to 600 across the country. The laws passed their final reading on Tuesday evening and will go into effect in 2023, as New Zealand strives to become “smoke-free” by 2025.
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Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall stated during the law’s passage on Tuesday that “thousands of people will live longer, healthier lives, and the health system will be $5 billion better off from not needing to treat the illnesses caused by smoking, such as numerous types of cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and amputations.”
According to The New Zealand Herald, the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Bill makes three main changes:
The bill is now set to become law after passing its final reading in Parliament with support from Labour, the Greens, and Te Paati Maori.
The new laws, however, will not restrict vape sales. Data indicates that at least some New Zealanders haveswapped their nicotine habit from cigarettes to vapes.
Data released in November showed the number of people smoking daily had fallen to 8% – down from 9.4% last year – marking the lowest rates since records began.
The rise in daily vape users, however, was larger than the drop in daily smokers: 8.3% of adults are now vaping daily, up from 6.2% in the past year.
This will lead to thousands of lives longer and an additional $5 billion less burden on the health system as there will be no need to treat diseases caused by smoking, such as many types of cancer, heart attacks, strokes, amputations. The legislation aims to prevent the high number of deaths caused by tobacco consumption in New Zealand which disproportionately affects the native Māori population.