Industries News.Net

Tobacco ban repeal by New Zealand government criticized by experts

Robert Besser
1 Dec 2023

LONDON - Health experts and tobacco campaigners have strongly criticized New Zealand's decision to repeal laws that aimed to ban tobacco sales for future generations, citing concerns about the impact on lives and international efforts to reduce smoking.

The new center-right coalition in New Zealand has announced plans to scrap these laws, which the previous Labour-led government had initially introduced.

The measures would have prohibited the sale of tobacco to individuals born after January 1, 2009, limited nicotine content in tobacco products, and significantly reduced the number of tobacco retailers.

These measures were among the most stringent anti-tobacco regulations globally and sparked discussions in other countries, including the UK, about implementing similar bans on smoking for future generations. Health experts argue that abandoning these measures is a major setback for public health and a significant victory for the tobacco industry, which stands to profit at the expense of New Zealanders' well-being.

"This is a major loss for public health and a huge win for the tobacco industry whose profits will be boosted at the expense of Kiwi lives," said Boyd Swinburn, co-chair of Health Coalition Aotearoa in New Zealand.

HCM pointed to academic research suggesting they could have saved approximately $1.3 billion in health system costs over 20 years and reduced mortality rates.

While New Zealand's Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has not yet commented on the decision, experts warn that this U-turn may influence policymakers in other countries, such as England, to reconsider their own anti-tobacco measures.

Additionally, the coalition government in New Zealand plans to implement new tobacco-related regulations, including taxation of smoked products only and stricter rules for alternatives like vaping. These regulations will include a ban on disposable vapes and more severe penalties for those selling vaping products to underage customers.

Incoming Finance Minister Nicola Willis has stated that the previous government's measures would have significantly reduced tax revenues. Deborah Arnott, chief executive of the UK health charity ASH, noted that smoking already costs public finances nearly double the revenue generated from tobacco taxes.

Copyright ©1998-2024 Industries News.Net | Mainstream Media Limited - All rights reserved