The New Zealand government is controversially planning to repeal some of its tobacco laws. Some fear it could hurt teenagers and children, while supporters argue the government is doing so at the expense of tax cuts. The government said it would take other measures to help quit smoking, but some parents and organizations expressed anger shock, and concern about the normalization of smoking and vapes.
The mother of a young smoker has expressed “extreme horror” at the Coalition government’s plan to repeal some smoke-free laws and sees it as a “step back” for future generations, nzherald reported recently. Active supporters who prefer teen e-cigarette salons argue that the government is cutting taxes at the expense of our children’s health.
The Coalition government plans to repeal provisions of Labor’s 2022 legislation that initially would have drastically reduced the number of cigarette retailers, removed most of the tar from cigarettes, and banned future generations from smoking in the world for the first time.
The government will use the savings to fund tax cuts. The government says it understands parents’ anxiety about teenage smoking and vapes, but it is repealing smoke-free legislation that is not working because it believes there are better ways to help us quit. It will continue efforts to reduce smoking rates and strengthen vape regulations.
MeganVerney, a Bay Area multi-birth mother, said she believed the government had changed its goal of making New Zealand a smoke-free region without a replacement. She acknowledged that New Zealand had come a long way and now “the carpet has suddenly been pulled out”. One Bay Area mother of six, who asked not to be named, expressed “extreme anger” at the plan to scrap the smoke-free measure.
MarnieWilton, president of Smokers’ Children New Zealand and a mother of two, said she was “shocked” and “angry” at the repeal. She argued that if the government could not show moral leadership on smoking, then she did not believe it could deal with the problem of youth smoking.
Letitia Harding, chief executive of the Asthma Foundation, fears that revoking the measures will support the “normalization of smoking and vaping”.
Parents of teenage smokers are concerned about the coalition government’s plan to repeal three aspects of smoke-free legislation. As a result, a spokesman for the company said the group believes e-cigarette brands have played a “key role” in the decline in smoking rates in New Zealand.
A health ministry spokesman said the government collected $1.98 billion in excise revenue from cigarettes in 2019/19, falling to $1.666 billion in 2022/23. There is no consumption tax on e-cigarette brands. Based on the annual revenue of professional vape retailers, the market sales in 2022 will be about $404 million