Teenage Smokers' Parents Worry as New Zealand Government Plans to Scrap Smoke-free Laws

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Teenage Smokers' Parents Worry as New Zealand Government Plans to Scrap Smoke-free Laws
Concerns have been raised by parents of teenage smokers over New Zealand's plan to scrap some anti-smoking laws.

According to recent reports by New Zealand media outlet nzherald, the mother of a teenage smoker has expressed "extreme fear" over the government's plan to repeal certain anti-smoking laws, believing it would be a "regressive step" for future generations. Advocates of youth e-cigarette salons, on the other hand, lean towards the belief that the government is prioritizing tax cuts over the health of our children.


The coalition government plans to repeal certain provisions of the 2022 Labour legislation, which were set to significantly reduce the number of tobacco retailers, mandate the removal of a majority of nicotine from tobacco products, and implement the world's first ban on smoking among the younger generation.


The government will use the money saved to fund tax cuts. The government states that it understands parents' concerns about teenage smoking and e-cigarette use, but it is repealing pending smoke-free legislation because it believes there are better ways to assist with smoking cessation. It will continue its efforts to reduce smoking rates and enhance e-cigarette regulations.


Megan Verney, a mother from the Bay area, believes that the government has changed its goal of making New Zealand a smoke-free zone without a suitable replacement. She expressed that New Zealand has made significant progress, but now feels like the "rug has been suddenly pulled out from under us". Meanwhile, an anonymous mother with six children in the Bay area expressed "extreme anger" towards the plan to repeal smoke-free measures.


Marnie Wilton, chairperson of Smokefree Kids New Zealand and a mother of two, expressed her "shock" and "anger" towards the proposed legislation repeal. She believes that if the government fails to demonstrate moral leadership on smoking, she does not believe it can address the issue of youth e-cigarette use.


Letitia Harding, the Chief Executive Officer of the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation, expressed concern that the cancellation of these measures could foster the normalization of smoking and e-cigarette use.


The coalition government's plan to abolish smoking bans has raised concerns among parents of teenage smokers. In response, government officials have adhered to tobacco companies' spokespersons who assert that the group believes e-cigarette products have played a "crucial role" in the decline of smoking rates in New Zealand.


A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health in New Zealand has stated that the government's revenue from tobacco consumption taxes decreased from $1.98 billion in the 2019/19 fiscal year to $1.666 billion in the 2022/23 fiscal year. E-cigarette products are not subject to consumption taxes. Annual returns from specialized e-cigarette retailers indicate that the market sales in 2022 amounted to approximately $404 million.


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