No-one under the age of 14 will ever be allowed to buy cigarettes in their lifetime under the scheme in a bid to eradicate smoking from the country.
Each year an additional age group will be added to the ban list until it’s illegal for the entire nation.
‘We want to make sure young people never start smoking so we will make it an offence to sell or supply smoked tobacco products to new cohorts of youth,’ NZ associate health minister Ayesha Verrall said on Thursday.
‘People aged 14 when the law comes into effect will never be able to legally purchase tobacco.
‘We are also reducing the appeal, addictiveness and availability of smoked tobacco products.
‘New laws will mean only smoked tobacco products containing very low-levels of nicotine can be sold, with a significant reduction in the number of shops who can sell them.’
The new rules will not come into effect immediately to allow retailers to transition away from relying on cigarette sales, said Dr Verrall.
Just 500 shops nationwide will be allowed to sell cigarette once the new legislation is implemented, and will need to apply for a licence similar to a bottle shop needing a licence to sell alcohol.
The national target is to have just 5 per cent or less of the New Zealand population still smoking by 2025.
As part of the strategy, cigarette prices have increased by 10 per cent every year for the 10 years between 2011 and 2020, but no further tax hikes are now proposed.
More to follow