A historic smokefree bill to ban smoking for next generation up for first reading in New Zealand, reports the NZ Herald.
Announced last year, the proposed legislation prohibits people born after Jan. 1, 2009, from purchasing tobacco products.
The plan is part of a push to drop daily smoking rates in New Zealand to less than 5 percent across all population groups by 2025. In 2019–2020, it sat at 13.4 percent.
Introduced by the labor party, the legislation already enjoys broad support in Parliament.
The sole voice opposing it outright is the ACT party, with health spokeswoman Brooke Van Velden saying prohibition will only fuel a black market.
Critics say the measure will likely fuel an already growing black market for cigarettes and that more support is needed for people to transition to vaping.
The Ministry of Health acknowledges as much. Its regulatory impact statement says there is already a growing illicit market and that the policy changes were “likely to exacerbate this.”
The government aims to pass the bill by December, meaning that, all going to plan, those aged 14 in 2023 will be banned from purchasing tobacco.