According to media outlet scoop.co.nz, the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA) has called for the New Zealand government to reconsider its decision to repeal a law banning the sale of cigarettes nationwide.
Dr. Elizabeth Roberts, the Deputy Director of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australia and New Zealand, believes that this is a setback for public health.
She stated that smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in New Zealand, and the previous government’s legislation provided opportunities for disease prevention, reduction and saving lives, particularly benefiting the Māori population who face health inequalities. New Zealand was set to become the first country in the world to achieve a “smoke-free generation,” making the current government’s change of direction difficult to comprehend.
According to reports, the original measures included banning the sale of tobacco to individuals born after January 1, 2009, limiting nicotine content in tobacco products, and reducing tobacco retailers by over 90%.
Dr. Roberts expressed his deep anguish, saying, “We had believed that the goal of a smoke-free 2025 seemed within our grasp, but now it feels out of reach. We urge the government to reconsider its decision to lift the ban.