We want to make sure young people never start smoking, so we will make it an offence to sell or supply smoke tobacco products to new cohorts of young people. People aged 14 when the law comes into effect will never be able to legally purchase tobacco. - Dr. Ayesha Verrall, Associate Health Minister of New Zealand

The government of New Zealand announced its plans to ban tobacco sales for anyone born after 2008 permanently. The current legal smoking age in New Zealand is 18 years old, so the law won’t affect young Kiwis (New Zealanders) until four years from now. The move comes in an effort to achieve a national goal of reducing the national smoking rate to 5% by 2025, with the aim of eventually eliminating it altogether.

Zoom In: Currently, around 13% of adults in New Zealand smoke, while the rate soars to 22% among the country’s indigenous Maori population. New Zealand’s health ministry states that smoking causes one in four cancers and is the leading cause of preventable deaths for its population of five million.

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