The new coalition government plans to repeal changes to the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act that would have barred the sale of cigarettes to anyone born after 2009, among other measures.
A Canadian-based international study shows 79 percent of New Zealanders aged 16 to 29 favored the ban.
A similar share supported a reduction in the number of shops that could sell tobacco while 68 percent wanted manufacturers to have to take nicotine out of cigarettes.
The International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project investigates attitudes to smoking across several countries. The most recent research was supposed to provide a baseline for New Zealand before the law came into effect.
“Our overseas colleagues are incredibly disappointed and devastated as we are because the tobacco research world has been really looking to New Zealand,” said co-author Jude Ball from Otago University.
By contrast, the Coalition of Asia Pacific Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA) expressed its support for the decision to repeal the generational tobacco ban.
“CAPHRA applauds the government’s decision to prioritize harm reduction strategies,” said the group’s executive coordinator, Nancy Loucas. “We believe that vaping and other harm reduction tools can play a significant role in helping smokers quit, and we are pleased to see the government recognizing this.”
The organization said it also shares the government’s concerns about the potential for a black market to develop if the sale of tobacco is overly restricted.
“A regulated market is always preferable to an unregulated one, where product safety cannot be guaranteed,” Loucas added.