APTRA update on smokefree bill in New Zealand

By Faye Bartle |

Sunil Tuli, President of APTRA

Sunil Tuli, President of APTRA.

The New Zealand government passed primary legislation for its Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Bill into law yesterday (13 December), accelerating the country’s journey toward a smokefree future.

The bill significantly limits the number of retailers that are able to sell smoked tobacco products and aims to stop young people from taking up smoking by prohibiting the sale of smoked tobacco products to anyone born on or after 1 January 2009.

It also reduces the amount of nicotine that is allowed in smoked tobacco products, in line with the bill’s aim to make them ‘less appealing and addictive’.

Associate Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall said “the number of retailers around the country that can sell tobacco will be reduced to a tenth of the 6,000 there are now”.

The legislation mandates a maximum of 600 tobacco retailers by the end of next year.

“The New Zealand parliament passed primary legislation on 13 December 2022 for its Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Bill and has not yet published the draft regulations or confirmed any detail regarding the sale of duty free tobacco,” said Sunil Tuli, President of APTRA.

“This is not expected until a later date (as yet unspecified).

“During the open consultation period on the Bill, in August 2022 APTRA wrote to the New Zealand government to request that the Select Committee consider the unique nature of the duty-free channel, the rigorous retail conditions of operating in a very controlled environment, meaning that access to duty-free retailing is restricted to travellers with a valid travel document and, as such, youth access to tobacco products duty-free can be restricted.

“Once the draft regulations are published, APTRA will follow up with the Government as appropriate.”

New Zealand already has a low smoking rate. Just 8% of adults smoke daily in the country – down from 9.4% a year ago and 16.4% in 2011/12, according to Ministry of Health statistics.

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