According to a report from Todayonline on November 27, health and tobacco activists are warning that New Zealand’s plan to abolish a regulation that prohibits the sale of tobacco to future generations could pose a threat to lives and undermine global anti-smoking efforts.
New Zealand’s incoming center-right government is set to repeal a range of regulations implemented by the previous Labour government. These regulations include the ban on selling tobacco to citizens born after January 1, 2009, the reduction of nicotine content in tobacco products, and the significant reduction in the number of tobacco retailers by over 90%. These regulations have been regarded as some of the strictest anti-smoking measures globally.
Boyd Swinburn, Co-Chair of the New Zealand Health Coalition, criticized this policy, stating that it would significantly boost profits for the tobacco industry, but at the expense of the health and lives of New Zealanders.
Academic research indicates that this regulation has the potential to save $1.3 billion for New Zealand’s public health system within 20 years, while also reducing the mortality rate resulting from smoking.
Sarah Jackson, Chief Researcher at the Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group at University College London, has expressed concern over the policy reversal in New Zealand, stating that it may impact the determination of other countries in implementing similar anti-smoking regulations. Despite this, New Zealand’s center-right government has decided to impose taxes on tobacco products and revise the regulations on alternative products such as e-cigarettes, including a ban on disposable e-cigarettes and harsh penalties for selling to underage customers.
According to documents, the new coalition government will only impose taxes on tobacco products and reform the regulations surrounding alternative products such as e-cigarettes. This includes a ban on disposable vapes and stricter penalties for selling e-cigarette products to underage customers.
The incoming Minister of Finance, Nicola Willis, has stated that the previous government’s measures will significantly reduce tax revenue.
The Chief Executive of the UK health charity, ASH, Deborah Arnott, has stated that the financial toll caused by smoking is nearly double the revenue generated from tobacco taxes.