NHS doctor on the dangers of smoking
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The ban means anyone under 14 in the country will never be allowed to buy cigarettes in the entirety of their life. New Zealand is pursuing the possibility of becoming smoke-free by 2025 – with this ban being a huge step towards that goal.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also put forward new plans of increasing the age limit for smoking each year to tackle what they see as a problem in the country.
Associate health minister in New Zealand, Ayesha Verrall, said: “We want to make sure young people never start smoking so we will make it an offence to sell or supply smoked tobacco products to new cohorts of youth.”
But Simon Clark, director of the smokers’ group Forest, hounded the decision by the NZ Government – declaring it as “mad”.
Mr Clark told Express.co.uk: “Any attempt to introduce a similar law in the UK would be fiercely resisted. You can’t have a two-tier society in which 30-year-olds are treated differently to 40-year-olds. Adults should be treated like adults whatever their age.
“This is about freedom of choice and personal responsibility and politicians in the UK should think very seriously before they sink to prohibition as a tool to achieve their smoke-free aims.”
“This is prohibition in all but name and prohibition very rarely works.
“If tobacco is made illegal to people born after 2008 it won’t stop younger generations from smoking.
“The sale of tobacco will simply be driven underground and consumers will buy tobacco on the unregulated black market.
“The impact of this policy will hit non-smokers as well because the government will have to replace lost revenue by taxing something else.
“Absurd, illiberal policies like this are what happens when governments set unrealistic targets to go ‘smoke-free’.
“As the target date approaches politicians resort to ever more draconian measures to meet whatever year they have arbitrarily set.
“Incredibly, under this proposal, if you’re 32 in New Zealand in 2040 you will be allowed to buy tobacco but if you’re 31 you will be committing a crime and could face serious consequences.
“How mad is that?”
Smokers were hit heavily in the budget this year – with a significant tax rise being introduced by Rishi Sunak.
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The cheapest 20 packs rose by 66p, going from £9.10 to £9.73.
In the case of a 30g bag of tobacco, that will see a rise £8.14 to £9.02.
At the time, Mr Clark waded in on the impact these taxes have on smokers’ lives.
He said: “The Government must stop weaponising tax in the war on smoking.
“The majority of smokers come from poorer backgrounds.
“Many have suffered financially as result of the pandemic and should not have to face yet another increase in the cost of tobacco at a time when they can least afford it.”
Liam Tustin took to Twitter after the budget announcement to say smokers should be thanked – not penalised.
They tweeted: “The tobacco duty tax receipts in the United Kingdom amounted to approximately £9.96billion British pounds.
“The cost to the NHS is £2.5billion for services and smoking-related care needs.
“You should be thanking us smokers who voluntarily lay down our lives for others.”
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