New Zealand’s new government says it intends to dump the nation’s world-leading smoking ban to fund tax cuts.
The previously introduced legislation, initiated during the tenure of former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, was set to prohibit cigarette sales to individuals born after 2008 starting next year.
This measure aimed to combat smoking, the foremost cause of preventable deaths in New Zealand, with the goal of preventing younger generations from adopting the habit.
Public Health Concerns
Health experts have vehemently criticized the sudden reversal of this policy. Professor Richard Edwards, a prominent tobacco control researcher and public health specialist at the University of Otago, expressed deep dismay, labeling the decision as regressive. He emphasized the significant setback this action represents for New Zealand’s globally acclaimed health initiatives.
Calls for Reconsideration
The abrupt shift in policy has prompted widespread discontent among health groups in New Zealand. Many are urging the government to reconsider, citing the need to uphold and advance measures that promote public health and curb the detrimental effects of smoking within the country.
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