WELLINGTON: New Zealand will repeal on Tuesday a world-first law banning tobacco sales for future generations, the government said, even while researchers and campaigners warned of the risk that people could die as a result.

Set to take effect from July, the toughest anti-tobacco rules in the world would have banned sales to those born after Jan 1, 2009, cut nicotine content in smoked tobacco products and reduced the number of tobacco retailers by more than 90pc.

The new coalition government elected in October confirmed the repeal will happen on Tuesday as a matter of urgency, enabling it to scrap the law without seeking public comment, in line with previously announced plans.

Associate Health Minister Casey Costello said the coalition government was committed to reducing smoking, but was taking a different regulatory approach to discourage the habit and reduce the harm it caused.

“I will soon be taking a package of measures to cabinet to increase the tools available to help people quit smoking,” Costello said, adding that regulations on vaping would also be tightened to deter young people.

The decision, heavily criticised over its likely impact on health outcomes in New Zealand, has also drawn flak because of fears it could have a greater impact on Maori and Pasifika populations, groups with higher smoking rates.

Repeal flies in the face of robust research evidence, ignores measures strongly supported by Maori leaders and will preserve health inequities, said Otago University researcher Janet Hoek.

“Large-scale clinical trials and modelling studies show the legislation would have rapidly increased the rates of quitting among smokers and made it much harder for young people to take up smoking,” said Hoek, co-director of a group studying ways to reduce smoking.

Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

Tough talks
Updated 16 Apr, 2024

Tough talks

The key to unlocking fresh IMF funds lies in convincing the lender that Pakistan is now ready to undertake real reforms.
Caught unawares
Updated 16 Apr, 2024

Caught unawares

The government must prioritise the upgrading of infrastructure to withstand extreme weather.
Going off track
16 Apr, 2024

Going off track

LIKE many other state-owned enterprises in the country, Pakistan Railways is unable to deliver, while haemorrhaging...
Iran’s counterstrike
Updated 15 Apr, 2024

Iran’s counterstrike

Israel, by attacking Iran’s diplomatic facilities and violating Syrian airspace, is largely responsible for this dangerous situation.
Opposition alliance
15 Apr, 2024

Opposition alliance

AFTER the customary Ramazan interlude, political activity has resumed as usual. A ‘grand’ opposition alliance ...
On the margins
15 Apr, 2024

On the margins

IT appears that we are bent upon taking the majoritarian path. Thus, the promise of respect and equality for the...