New Zealand will ban the sale of tobacco to its next generation, in a bid to eventually phase out smoking.
Anyone born after 2008 will not be able to buy cigarettes or tobacco products in their lifetime, under a law expected to be enacted next year.
“We want to make sure young people never start smoking,” Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verall said.
The move is part of a sweeping crackdown on smoking announced by New Zealand’s health ministry on Thursday.
Doctors and other health experts in the country have welcomed the “world-leading” reforms, which will reduce access to tobacco and restrict nicotine levels in cigarettes.
“It will help people quit or switch to less harmful products, and make it much less likely that young people get addicted to nicotine,” said Prof Janet Hook from the University of Otago.The crackdown has been met with mixed reactions.
“I reckon it’s a good move, really,” one man told Reuters news agency. “Because right now there’s a lot of young kids walking around with smokes in their mouth. Public are asking how they’re getting these smokes.
“And it’s also good for myself too because I can save more money.”
However, others have warned that the move may create a black market for tobacco – something the health ministry’s official impact statement does acknowledge, noting “customs will need more resource to enforce border control”.
“This is all 100% theory and 0% substance,” Sunny Kaushal, chairman of the Dairy and Business Owners Group, a lobby group for local convenience stores, told New Zealand’s Stuff news site. “There’s going to be a crime wave. Gangs and criminals will fill the gap”.
A New Zealand supermarket chain announced that it was temporarily removing all scissors and knives from its shelves following an attack that left several people injured at one of its stores on Friday.
A general manager of supermarket chain Countdown said it was also considering if they would sell such items in the future.
“Last night, we made the decision to temporarily remove all knives and scissors from our shelves while we consider whether we should continue to sell them,” Kiri Hannifin, Countdown’s general manager for safety, said in a statement on Saturday.
“This is in no way a reflection on our customers, but an act of support for our team. We want all of our team to feel safe when they come to work, especially considering the events of yesterday,” Hannifin said.
Reuters noted, citing local reports, that sharp knives had been taken off shelves at other supermarkets too.
On Friday, a Sri Lankan national who was previously known to security forces in New Zealand entered a Countdown supermarket, going after several customers and stabbing them, witnesses said. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern noted that the attacker “was a supporter of ISIS ideology.”
Officials said Friday that six people were injured from the attack, with three transported to the hospital in critical condition. One person was in serious condition, and two others were in moderate condition.
“We must be willing to make the changes that we know may not necessarily have changed history, but could change the future,” she said at a news briefing.
The man, a Sri Lankan national, stabbed seven people in a supermarket. Three of them are in a critical condition.
The attacker, a known supporter of Islamic State, was shot dead by police.
He has now been identified as Ahamed Aathil Mohamed Samsudeen, a 32-year-old Tamil, who arrived in New Zealand in 2011 and sought refugee status.
Ms Ardern, who described the stabbings as a “terrorist attack”, said she expected that changes to the country’s counter-terrorism legislation would be backed by parliament by the end of September.The legislation is expected to make it easier to convict someone for planning a terror attack.
Samsudeen had been arrested a number of times before Friday’s incident. But Ms Ardern said that every legal avenue to keep him out of the community had been exhausted.