New Zealand is sticking to its target of making the country cigarette smoke-free by 2025.
It's an ambitious target to rid itself of ciggies within four years, but it appears the Ardern government has found several ways that could make it happen.
According to the New Zealand Herald, the Administration is weighing up a proposal to create a smoke-free generation.
That would involve setting a date next year where anyone under the age of 18 would ever be able to buy cigarettes.
People would presumably be forced to show their ID when buying ciggies from a registered place in the country and if they're younger than the 2022 date then they'll be told to get lost.
Of course, you could just get someone older than you to purchase the contraband, but the measure would really start to kick into effectiveness in a couple of years.
Another proposal the government is looking at is reducing the amount of nicotine in each cigarette. It's also considering restricting where ciggies can be sold by creating a licensing system.
Kiwi MPs have been told they will have to ban cigarettes entirely if they want to stick to their plan of making New Zealand cigarette-free by 2025.
Figures from 2018 stated nearly 16 per cent of New Zealanders, including 35 per cent of Māori and 25 per cent of Pacific Islanders, smoke cigarettes. The 2025 smoke-free target for the government is to have that number below 5 per cent.
But then-Māori Public Health Chief Executive Lance Norman said a lot of work needs to be done before they can be confident in being on track.
"We are nowhere near that. Saying it's a train wreck for Māori would be an understatement," he said. "So our view is we should have an aggressive...strategy to get rid of the product."
Cancer Society chief executive Lucy Elwood added that without introducing harsh legislation, the 2025 target is a pipe dream.
"Tobacco kills about 11 New Zealanders every day, yet it can be sold absolutely anywhere," Elwood said. "The current laws are not protecting our communities from this devastatingly deadly product."
The Smokefree 2025 initiative has been around for a decade and the government is crossing its fingers to have a proper plan in place soon.
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