Cigarettes were to be gradually phased out of stores in New Zealand, the government decided in 2022. The new cabinet calculated budget revenues and expenses and decided that this was not the moment to cut off excise tax revenues. The lives of New Zealand smokers will not change from January 1, 2024.
The most radical ways to combat tobacco smoke around the world will not come into force. The New Zealand government is withdrawing from the idea of its predecessors, because after calculating the costs it became clear that without excise tax revenues it would be difficult to close the budget.
New Zealand had a radical idea for dealing with tobacco
In 2022, the government decided to gradually increase the age from which you can legally buy cigarettes in the country, assuming that those born after January 1, 2009 will never be able to purchase them. The regulations also included lowering the nicotine content in tobacco products and reducing the number of tobacco sales outlets from 6,000 to just 600 across New Zealand. The regulations were to enter into force from January 2024.
The new coalition government of the New Zealand National Party and the New Zealand First and ACT groups announced its withdrawal from this regulation a month before it enters into force. The new Minister of Finance, Nicola Willis, said that revenues from the sale of tobacco products are to be used to finance the tax cuts announced by the government.
The repeal of the act still needs to be approved by the parliament, but this is a formality because the new government has a majority in it. Prime Minister Christopher Luxon argues that fiscal issues were not the only argument for abandoning far-reaching bans. The second reason was the fear that legal sales would be replaced by a black market in tobacco products, and that cigarettes would be sold not by tobacco companies but by criminals.
The number of e-cigarette enthusiasts is growing
It can be added that the restrictions proposed by the previous government did not cover e-cigarettes, which are becoming more and more popular in New Zealand, which we will discuss in a moment.
Data published in November and quoted by the British daily show that the number of smokers in New Zealand is decreasing every year. Last year, almost 9.5% of people smoked every day. people, while currently this percentage has decreased to 8%. This is much less than, for example, in our country – data from the Chief Sanitary Inspectorate (GIS) from 2019 show that every fifth Pole (21%) smokes every day, while in 2017, 24% could not imagine a day without a cigarette. countrymen. However, the number of e-cigarette enthusiasts is growing in New Zealand. Over the last year, this group has increased by 6.2%. up to 8.3 percent
Health experts criticize the withdrawal from regulations.
– This move suggests disregarding the voices of communities most affected by tobacco damage while favoring economic interests – said Jason Alexander, director general of the Maori public health organization Hāpai te Hauora, quoted by PAP.