New Zealand scraps generational ban on cigarettes

New Zealand will neither impose a generational ban on cigarette sales nor introduce a requirement for low-nicotine cigarettes. This was recently announced by the country's new government. The reason is the risk of losing tax revenue, but also that smoking is declining rapidly even without the planned reform.

It is now clear that New Zealand is scrapping plans to introduce a so-called generational ban on cigarette purchases. It will also not significantly reduce the number of retail outlets and is backing away from legislation that would regulate the nicotine content of cigarettes to very low levels.

According to the new government, the reforms would simply cost too much at a time when the country is facing economic challenges.

"We estimate that the smoke-free reform would be close to one billion New Zealand dollars. We expected to be able to finance it with other tax revenues. But these are now not forthcoming, while we are planning large tax cuts in other areas." Finance Minister Nicola Willis told NewsHub magazine in December 2023.

Fewer shops - black market

The reform was intended to reduce the number of shops licensed to sell cigarettes by as much as 90%. As well as a loss of tax revenue, this could lead to large black markets for cigarette sales, says Prime Minister Christopher Luxon in a letter to the Prime Minister. the Guardian newspaper.

"Concentrating cigarette sales in a small shop in each city will become a magnet for organised crime," says Christopher Luxon.

Plans to lower the nicotine content of the cigarettes that would be allowed to be sold have also suffered setbacks. The only company currently selling such cigarettes, the 22nd Century Group, has struggled to meet the expected demand for cigarettes. due to economic concerns. 

E-cigarettes essential for smoke-free 2025

New Zealand's tobacco policy has received much attention worldwide and has been described as both pioneering and progressive. At the same time, the previous government has been criticised for not sufficiently emphasising The role of e-cigarettes in the strategy to reduce smoking in the country.

'If we take a closer look at the trends we have seen in recent years, it becomes clear that we are already on the right track, if we just keep doing what we are doing. Smoking will be below five per cent by 2025. Among young people, 1 per cent smoke daily, while 10 per cent vejpar. We already have a smoke-free generation and the explanation for this is a clear strategy where e-cigarettes, i.e. harm reduction, have been given a central role" said Ben Youdan, head of the organisation. Smoke Free 2025 in New Zealand in Vejpkollen 2022.

Investing in better smoking cessation

The decision to scrap the planned reform has now been taken in Parliament, putting the globally acclaimed reform on hold. At the same time, the government wants to focus more on smoking cessation and regulate the e-cigarette market more strictly, according to Reuters.

Recommending e-cigs for smoking cessation programme

For some years now, the New Zealand authorities have been running several stop-smoking campaigns. These campaigns encourage smokers to seek help and inform them about various tools that are currently evidence-based for smoking cessation. These tools include traditional medicines and e-cigarettes and vejpning.

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