New Zealand Aims for a World First in Stopping Smoking

Thanks to contributing author, Jordyn Skye

The government wants to outlaw selling tobacco.  They plan to create a ‘Smoke Free Generation”.   Anyone born after January 1, 2009 will be prohibited from ever buying tobacco.  They plan to introduce this law in 2027.  New Zealand will be one of the  first countries in the world to do such an activity.

This will create a society where some can and some cannot buy tobacco.  Older smokers will still be able to buy tobacco and people born after January 1 2009, will never be able to.  There will also be fewer tobacco outlets, so they will be less convenient to find.

There are many issues involved in such a decision.  For a start, it raises many arguments about freedom of rights.  But people who support the abolition of tobacco argue that it is worth it because of the health effects of smoking.  They would argue that smoking is a kind of self harm, and should, therefore, be illegal, just like suicide is illegal. The cost of health care, which is paid for by the government in New Zealand, is another reason to abolish tobacco.

Lung cancer is a very well-known risk of smoking.  Damage is also  caused to the mouth, throat, and airways to the lungs.  Smoking also causes long-term diseases such as emphysema;  a condition where breathing becomes very difficult and sufferers must use oxygen machines for the rest of their lives. 

There is also a risk that a black market could develop for tobacco.  This may be similar to the illegal drug market.   

A very big concern is how it will affect people from overseas.  They may come from countries where smoking is not restricted. In New Zealand 95% of people don’t smoke because of severe taxes on tobacco, the abolition of advertising for tobacco, and the introduction of vaping.  However not all countries are like this and some migrants to New Zealand may not want to stop smoking.

Achieving a smoke-free population in New Zealand will be very difficult, but many say that it will be worth it because the cost of smoking to the health system is huge.  Such a policy may see a great improvement of the health of New Zealanders.

prohibit: to make an action illegal
abolish: to make a thing illegal
abolition: the action of making something illegal
illegal: against the law, not permitted
restricted: partially banned, controlled
ban: a noun or verb meaning to make a thing, or an action, illegal
vaping: using an electronic device that replaces smoking cigarettes

black market: the sale of illegal things

outlet: a shop

the health system: all of the hospitals and medical facilities in a country

suicide: when a person kills him or herself

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