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Health officials put minister on notice as New Zealand set to scrap tobacco ban

27 February 2024 21:45 (UTC+04:00)
Health officials put minister on notice as New Zealand set to scrap tobacco ban

New Zealand’s Health Minister Casey Costello was put on notice by health officials as the new coalition government was set to scrap the world’s first tobacco ban, Azernews reports, citing Anadolu Agency.

The officials urged Costello to “retain key aspects of the smoke-free law,” Radio New Zealand reported on Tuesday.

Last November, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon confirmed the coalition government’s 49-point agenda for the first 100 days, which included lifting a ban on selling cigarettes to children under the age of 14, as well as imposing a prohibition of cell phones in schools.

It was in December 2022 that New Zealand’s parliament passed legislation banning the sale of tobacco to anyone aged 14 or below, a significant step towards the country’s goal of becoming smoke-free by 2025.

The law prohibits the sale of any tobacco product to anyone born after Jan. 1, 2009. The law took effect in January last year and would slash tobacco retailers from 6,000 to 600, and remove 95% of the nicotine from cigarettes.

But major aspects of the new law are not in force yet.

Costello’s ministry is set to go ahead and end the ban but has received other suggestions from health officials, including introducing a purchase age of 25.

The minister rejected all such proposals.

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