World’s first total smoking ban legislation approved in New Zealand

Young people smoking - Credit Kuzmaphoto /

New Zealand is the first country in the world to implement a total smoking ban that will see anyone born on or after 1 January 2009 never being able to buy cigarettes or smoke.

The ban designed to outlaw smoking for the next generation was approved on Tuesday, December 13 and will be accompanied by measures to make smoking less accessible and affordable.

Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall said: “Thousands of people will live longer, healthier lives and the health system will be $5bn (€3bn) better off from not needing to treat the illnesses caused by smoking, such as numerous types of cancer, heart attacks, strokes, amputations.”

In addition to reducing the legal amount of nicotine in tobacco products, their sale will also only be available through specialty tobacco stores. That will see tobacco products removed from the shelves of convenience stores and supermarkets. That will see the current 6,000 stores licensed to sell tobacco products falling to less than 600.

Additional funding is also being made available health services and campaigns to help people quit. Māori and Pacific communities will be specifically targeted.

The new law, which comes into effect from 2023, was introduced for its first reading in parliament by Verrall back in July. At the time she said: “For decades we have permitted tobacco companies to maintain their market share by making their deadly product more and more addictive.

“It is disgusting and it is bizarre. We have more regulations in this country on the safety of the sale of a sandwich than on a cigarette.

“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. People aged 14 when the law comes into effect will never be able to legally purchase tobacco.”

Although smoking rates are falling, vaping rates are on the rise with the use of the product not included in the ban.

The number of people smoking has fallen to the lowest levels yet dropping from 9.4 per cent of the population in 2021 to eight percent in 2022.

With the world’s first total smoking ban legislation approved in New Zealand, other countries will be watching closely.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]