New Zealand set to scrap world-first tobacco sale ban

STORY: New Zealand is repealing its law banning tobacco sales for future generations on Tuesday (February 27), the government said.

That’s despite researchers and campaigners warning of the risk that people could die as a result.

The anti-tobacco sale rule, which would have been a world first, was passed under former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s administration.

Aimed at preventing thousands of deaths related to smoking a year and meet the country's "smoke-free" goal.

But New Zealand's new coalition government, elected in October, confirmed the repeal will happen on Tuesday as a matter of urgency - enabling it to scrap the law without seeking public comment, in line with previously announced plans.

The proposal was originally set to take effect in July this year.

It would have banned young people who were born after January 1, 2009 from buying cigarettes for life, making it one of the toughest anti-tobacco rules in the world.

The revoke of the plan has been heavily criticized over its likely impact on health outcomes in the country.

People are also worried that it could have a greater impact on Maori and Pasifika populations, as those groups have higher smoking rates.

An Associate Health Minister said the coalition government was committed to reducing smoking, but was taking a different regulatory approach to discourage the habit and reduce the harm it caused.