Jacinda Ardern why she introduced the famous ‘Smokefree by 2025’ to New Zealand
Jacinda Ardern reveals she’s going to make a MAJOR change to the cigarettes on sale – as she reveals why she’s pursuing a cigarette ban for the next generation
- Jacinda Ardern has announced a ‘game-changing’ smoking plan
- As part of the new plan, no one born after 2011 will ever legally buy cigarettes
- Experts praised the plan, saying it will reduce preventable disease and death
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the death rates were enough to overcome civil liberties concerns in her government’s striking new 2025 smoke-free plan.
The plan, which aims to reduce the number of smokers to five percent by the middle of the decade, attracted huge attention around the world after its launch on Thursday.
To get there, NZ will cut the nicotine content of cigarettes – which is believed to be a world first – and drastically reduce the number of stores that can sell them.
Jacinda Ardern (above) has announced a new hard-line policy against smoking in New Zealand
The new ban means anyone born in 2011 or later will never be able to legally buy cigarettes
The most radical proposal is to create a ‘Smoke Free Generation’ by preventing everyone born after a certain year from ever buying cigarettes.
“When I saw the BBC picked it up, I thought, yes, I can see why,” Ms Ardern told AAP from her office in Wellington on Friday.
‘For looking outside, a Smokefree generation appeals to the imagination.
‘When we discussed this in the cabinet, it had not escaped our notice that it was groundbreaking.
Jacinda has said she didn’t face much opposition to her new plan and said no one would object to preventing children from adopting a deadly habit.
But if you say, ‘Does anyone object to the idea of preventing children from (being able to) pick up a cigarette? Would anyone object to the idea of stopping a young person from taking something they had a 50 percent chance of kill them?”
“When you present it that way, who wouldn’t want to stop a child from doing that?”
The ban on buying cigarettes means that anyone born in 2011 or later will never be able to buy them.
Opposition parties have attacked the policy suite, suggesting a ban will pose other challenges, but public health experts have been unanimous in their praise.
The new plan has been hailed by health experts as a ‘game changer’ that will help reduce preventable death and disease in the country
‘It really is a game changer… New Zealand is once again a world leader,’ said Natalie Walker, Associate Professor of Public Health at the University of Auckland.
‘The proposed combination of policies is perfect.’
Chris Bullen, a public health professor at the University of Auckland, was just as effusive.
“All I wanted for Christmas this year was evidence of a serious commitment from the government to tackle our tobacco smoke problem…all my wishes have come true,” he said.
“If implemented as described, it could be the single most important step we take as a country to reduce preventable death and disease and reduce health inequalities in the coming years.”
Jacinda previously showed that she is prioritizing public health during her government’s crackdown on Covid-19
The plan is consistent with the government’s well-known focus on public health over other priorities, which is best reflected in its crackdown on COVID-19.
NZ successfully eliminated the virus in 2020 as it raged in other countries, keeping its borders closed to the rest of the world until at least May as it tackles a Delta outbreak.
Ms Ardern said the experience helped her shake off protesters.
“I’ve been in politics for a long time… and I still do all my own social media,” she said.
‘(Ringe elements like anti-vaxxers) has always been there. There is just a certain collection point at the moment. So I keep it in perspective.
“Here we just focus on making something that works for us.”
Could Australia follow in New Zealand’s footsteps?
Australia has a plan to nearly eradicate smoking by 2025 – with health experts demanding a radical New Zealand-style ban to make it possible.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has banned the next generation of Kiwis from ever buying cigarettes in her pursuit of a smoke-free New Zealand.
The ban is part of an overall strategy that aims to reduce the number of smokers to just five percent of the Kiwi population within three years.
On Thursday, the Australian Department of Health admitted it has a similar goal and plans to make 90 percent of all Australians non-smokers by 2025.
But Australian expert Dr. Colin Mendelsohn says a target will be impossible until the government rethinks its strategy and follows the Kiwis’ drastic plan.
In 2014, Tasmania’s state parliament voted against a bill by independent MP Ivan Dean to make it illegal for anyone born in 2000 to ever buy cigarettes.
MPs decided the potential financial impact on retail was too great to create a smoke-free state and dropped the policy.
Now experts believe Jacinda’s plan is the right one.
One of the most critical aspects of the plan was to reduce the nicotine content in cigarettes and limit the number of stores where cigarettes can be purchased.