The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ (ARFNZ) welcomes the announcement of the Government’s Smokefree 2025 Action Plan.
The measures announced include the age for buying tobacco being raised each year, meaning people who are 14 or under now will never be able to legally buy cigarettes. The number of shops selling tobacco will also be greatly restricted, and only very low-nicotine cigarettes will be available.
"At the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation, we’re fully committed to a smokefree Aotearoa," says ARFNZ Chief Executive Letitia Harding. "We’re delighted to see the Government taking such a bold and strong approach to steer the country toward a smokefree future. It’s wonderful to know that this new legislation will help to create a smokefree generation, who never have to suffer the terrible health consequences of smoking.
"We also welcome the move to limit the amount of nicotine in cigarettes to a very low level," adds Letitia. "Nicotine addiction is a huge problem in New Zealand, and reducing the amount of this addictive substance that people are exposed to can only be a positive move."
Respiratory physician Dr Stuart Jones, a member of the Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board, agrees. "This is a vital step forward for New Zealand. For too long the lungs of many New Zealanders have been crippled by the effects of smoking and today marks a significant step forward in the battle against tobacco.
"We're pleased to see that the plan addresses issues of health equity too. Māori and Pacific peoples suffer disproportionately from respiratory disease, and smoking rates in these groups remain high. The recognition of this fact, and the creation of a Māori Advisory Taskforce, demonstrates that the Government is keen to tackle this problem directly. We’re also glad to see plans for a Pacific Advisory Group in the new year."
The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ is New Zealand’s principal authority on respiratory conditions, and represents the interests of the 700,000 New Zealanders living with respiratory disease. The Foundation’s purpose is to lead respiratory health knowledge through research, education, and advocacy, to reduce respiratory-related hospitalisations, and to improve respiratory health outcomes for all.
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11 August, 2021
Today (Wednesday 11 August), it becomes illegal for general retailers to sell vaping or smokeless tobacco products containing flavours other than tobacco, mint and menthol.