New Zealand government to consider proposals to ban smoking for people born after 2004
The proposal is part of New Zealand's aim to become "smoke free" by 2025.
New Zealand could ban smoking for all people born after 2004, as part of its mission to make the country smoke-free by 2025, it has been revealed.
The proposal to increase the legal smoking age is part of a series of measures the New Zealand government is considering to achieve its "smoke-free" goal.
Further measures being discussed include reducing the quantity of nicotine in cigarettes, introducing a minimum cost for tobacco, banning filters and reducing the number of places tobacco products can be purchased.
Speaking of the plans, New Zealand's Associate Health Minister, Dr Ayesha Verrall, said: "We need a new approach," before adding that "business as usual without a tobacco control programme won't get us there," as reported by The Guardian.
She said that approximately 4,500 New Zealanders die each year from tobacco.
The plans were welcomed by the country's Cancer Society.
The Chief Executive of New Zealand's Cancer Society, Lucy Elwood, said in a statement: "This proposal goes beyond assisting people to quit."
She made reference to the fact that that the number of tobacco shops was massively higher in low-income communities, which suffer from the highest smoking rates.
"These glaring inequities are why we need to protect future generations from the harms of tobacco," Elwood said.
She added: "Tobacco is the most harmful consumer product in history and needs to be phased out."
Shane Kawenata Bradbrook, a strong advocate for tobacco-free Māori communities, said in a statement that the proposals "will begin the final demise of tobacco products in this country".
He said that smoking rates are highest among Māori and Pasifika New Zealanders, which makes it vital that they have a say in the process.