Future generations of New Zealanders will be banned from purchasing tobacco as part of new anti-smoking laws that passed by parliament on Tuesday.
The law states that tobacco can’t ever be sold to anybody born on or after January 1, 2009 – and from now on, the minimum age for buying cigarettes will keep going up and up.
In theory, somebody trying to buy a pack of cigarettes 50 years from now would need ID to show they were at least 63 years old. But health authorities hope smoking will fade away well before then.
They have a stated goal of making New Zealand smoke-free by 2025.
Health Minister Ayesha Verrall, who introduced the bill, said it was a step “towards a smoke-free future”.
“Thousands of people will live longer, healthier lives and the health system will be NZ$5 billion (US$3.2 billion) better off from not needing to treat the illnesses caused by smoking,” Dr Verrall said.
The new law also reduces the number of retailers allowed to sell tobacco from about 6,000 to 600 and decreases the amount of nicotine allowed in tobacco that is smoked.