New Zealand is putting the squeeze on smokers.
Kiwis may soon see their country’s nicotine habit crushed out like a butt in an ashtray. The nation of New Zealand is expected to pass a law that will raise the legal age of buying cigarettes by a year each year, gradually snuffing out the accessibility and affordability of smoking. As proposed in the legislation, children aged 14 and under will never be able to legally buy cigarettes, and each year the smoke-free cohort will grow larger and older by raising the legal purchasing age by one year. Within four years, government officials say the country will be smoke-free.
But that’s not all New Zealand is doing to put the squeeze on smokers. The nicotine content of cigarettes is being reduced, retail outlets selling cigarettes are being winnowed down, and there will be more money allocated to fight nicotine addiction. In this sweeping legislation, however, there is one big negative: vaping isn’t included in the new laws, and many Kiwi teens – 20% as per one study – are turning to vape pens instead of cigarettes. Nor is the new law expected to do much, if anything, to deter a rapidly expanding black market for tobacco.