Ireland should follow New Zealand’s lead on youth tobacco ban

By June Shannon Policy News   |   14th Dec 2022

New Zealand has become the first country in the world to ensure an entire smoke-free generation

The Irish Heart Foundation has today [Wednesday 14th December] praised the Government of New Zealand for being the first country in the world to introduce an annually increasing smoking age, meaning that anyone born on or after January 1st, 2009 will never be able to buy cigarettes or tobacco products.

Yesterday New Zealand’s Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Bill, which will create an entire smoke-free generation, was passed into law.

In light of these historic measures, the Irish Heart Foundation called on the Irish Government to follow New Zealand’s lead by planning for a tobacco endgame.

Commenting Mark Murphy, Advocacy Manager with the Irish Heart Foundation said, “The New Zealand government is to be lauded for protecting their future generations from the addictive nature and dangers of tobacco. New Zealand has recognised that tobacco has no place in a healthy society and introduced bold, innovative measures that put children’s health first.

“The route to a tobacco-free society has been set by New Zealand and it is beyond time that our government follow suit and begin planning for an endgame to tobacco here in Ireland. There is a strong public appetite for this, with the vast majority (83%) in favour of tobacco products being phased out, as shown by the HSE tobacco endgame survey.”

“ We believe Tobacco 21 could be the first step towards achieving a tobacco endgame, as envisaged by the New Zealand plan,”

Mark Murphy, Advocacy Manager , The Irish Heart Foundation

He said that the Irish Heart Foundation has been campaigning since 2021 for Ireland to become the first country in the EU to introduce Tobacco 21 and increase the legal age of sale of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21.

“We believe Tobacco 21 could be the first step towards achieving a tobacco endgame, as envisaged by the New Zealand plan,” Mr Murphy said.

The measures introduced in New Zealand will ban the selling of tobacco to anyone born on or after January 1, 2009, reduce the amount of nicotine allowed in smoked tobacco products and severely limits the number of retailers licenced to sell tobacco products. Mr Murphy believes that these policies need to be replicated in Ireland.

“By restricting those born in a certain year from ever purchasing tobacco, dramatically reducing the number of locations that sell tobacco, and putting in significant resources to support those seeking to quit smoking, we can realise an Ireland free from the scourge of tobacco,” he said.

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e-cigarettes heart disease quit smoking smoking stroke tobacco Tobacco 21

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