New Zealand law aims to stamp out smoking – BBC News

new zealand is proposing some of the toughest anti-smoking laws in the world to try to stamp out the habit under the plans anyone born after 2008 will neg but legally be able to buy cigarettes in their lifetime it's part of a package of measures including reducing the numbers of licensed tobacco shops from 8 000 to 500. convenience stores have warned that the move could break create a black market for tobacco as lucy gray reports at the moment you have to be 18 to buy cigarettes in new zealand but under planned new laws anyone under the age of 14 will never be able to buy cigarettes legally the age limit will then be increased every year until the whole country is smoke-free we want to make sure young people never start smoking so we are legislating for a smoke-free generation by making it an offence to sell or supply tobacco products to those aged 14 when the law comes into effect as they age they and future generations will never legally be able to purchase tobacco because the truth is there is no safe age to start smoking the government particularly wants to help maori smokers kick the habit i reckon it's a good move really um because right now there's a lot of young kids walking around those mixing it up and uh public are asking how how they're getting these sponge and it's also good for myself too because it says um so i can save more money you know and the people still want to smoke well they can just grow their own which they are doing maybe it's a good idea because a dinner day smoking is bad for you and it's really hard to quit yeah so being a smoker you know and going through all this i i know that so maybe it's a good thing at the end of the day because forcing people to sort of quit or cut down a little bit so yeah i mean i have nothing really against that the new legislation being introduced to parliament next year will also only allow cigarettes with low levels of nicotine and reduce the number of shops selling them vaping won't be affected the aim is to get all ages to stub out the habit by 2025.

Lucy gray bbc news will it work let's talk to professor jamie brown from the university college london's tobacco and alcohol research group so as a behavioral psychologist a scientist what do you think this kind of these measures will have will they create a black market or will they indeed stop future generations from smoking thanks good afternoon uh well first of all i think uh the new zealand government is to be uh commended for this really uh bold new strategy to accelerate progress towards uh their smoke-free target they recognize that allowing four and a half thousand people to die each year in new zealand from diseases caused by smoking is completely unacceptable equivalent figure for the uk is about 80 000 a year because of our much larger population while the world health organization estimates that smoking will cause a billion deaths this century so i raised those stats just to put this kind of discussion in that context about the urgency and the seriousness the situation was smoking and that business as usual really shouldn't be acceptable so i think yeah new zealand's plan has a good chance of working and will certainly be watching on uh has potential for global implications for helping us to understand what policies could really help change that trajectory but you talk about it being commendable but those who would say that this is a nanny state it's just it's a step too far how much do you push back against that then if people are saying well look you know it's for us to decide ultimately sure well as you heard from some of the clips in the package just before we have to remember uh that we know from the research the vast majority of people who smoke want to be smoke-free they usually started smoking during childhood and the majority seriously regret that decision but they find it incredibly difficult to stop because of how uniquely addictive cigarettes are and if they're unable to quit successfully then about a half of all smokers will die from their smoking so this new plan instead will seriously restrict access and help people get rid of this intolerable burden and prevent many young people from ever taking up in the first place and also um it was it was made clear in the package but it's it's very important to be clear that this isn't a complete ban for all smokers so people are already smoking it's intended to phase out smoking by making it illegal next year for anyone born after the age of 2008 who would be only 14 at the time of the legislation from ever being able to legally purchase cigarettes so the policy isn't about criminalizing use or smoking it's about restricting access making it illegal to sell cigarettes those generation of young people i think that's a really important distinction but it's still authorities deciding what you can and can't do and i wonder what if they decide that actually alcohol abuse we've got it's too damaging that's the next thing that could potentially have these kind of measures put against them where do you stop well i think you have to remember that cigarettes are an anachronism uh that is they belong to the past and how uniquely dangerous they are people you always hear these news stories about as dangerous as smoking but people forget just how unique smoking is um and there's no way that a new product coming to market now with all the safety standards we expect of products would be allowed to be sold if it killed half the people who use that product as intended throughout their lives and it's not a complete prohibition of nicotine which i think is an important point as well uh which is a key reason people smoke instead they're pursuing a risk proportionate approach whereby they're making by far and away the most dangerous way of consuming nicaraguan that is smoking cigarettes much less available much less attractive much more expensive while not placing such restrictive measures on alternative sources of nicotine okay professor brown fascinating to hear your thoughts from ucl thank you so much for your time thanks

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