Government announces Smokefree Amendment Bill regulating smoked tobacco

The bill is set to repeal parts of the previous government's intended changes

Government announces Smokefree Amendment Bill regulating smoked tobacco

The government has announced the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Amendment Bill for the regulation of smoked tobacco.

The bill was introduced in a bid to fulfil the government's 100-Day pledge by repealing three components of the preceding government's Smokefree legislation: the retail reduction scheme, denicotinisation, and the smokefree generation measures. None of the measures have been implemented thus far.

"The Coalition Government is committed to the Smokefree 2025 goal, but we are taking a different regulatory approach to reducing smoking rates and the harm from smoking," Associate Health Minister Casey Costello said in a 27 February media release. "New Zealand has seen some of the largest drops in smoking rates across the world in recent years and we want to build on the practical tools and approaches that have worked to date".

Data from the New Zealand Health Survey published last December revealed a significant decrease in daily smoking rates from 8.6% to 6.8% in a one-year span. This trend suggested that New Zealand is on track to achieve its Smokefree 2025 goal, which aims to see less than 5% of the population as daily smokers.

Costello highlighted a plan to present a package of measure to cabinet that will bolster the tools available to assist people in quitting smoking. The package will also tighten vaping regulations to keep young people from obtaining access to vapes.

"In the last three years, 229,000 people have stopped smoking, with vaping playing a key role. Importantly, 79,000 of those who stopped smoking – more than a third of those who quit - were Māori. The quit rates for young people are even more impressive", she said. "The progress New Zealand has made in reducing smoking means that those who currently smoke are mostly long-term smokers who are addicted to nicotine and that’s who we need to focus on”.

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