Written by Nihal Singh Dhingra, a grade 10 student.
New Zealand recently announced a ban on the sale of cigarettes or tobacco products to anyone born after 2008. This proposal would effectively ban anyone 14 years or younger (their age in 2021) from purchasing cigarettes ever in their lifetime. The New Zealand government wants to make sure that young people never start smoking. A brilliant idea to gradually wean out nicotine addiction and save citizens from deadly diseases like cancer. This sweeping crackdown is headlined by a ban that raises the minimum age to buy cigarettes every year beginning 2023.
Not the first…
Surprisingly New Zealand is not the first country with such forward-thinking ideas. It was the small kingdom of Bhutan, with a total population of 7 lakh, which banned tobacco sales and smoking in public places in the year 2005. In August 2020 Bhutan temporarily lifted the ban on tobacco to block covid spillover due to cross-border smuggling.
India banned smoking in public places in the year 2008. All public places have dedicated smoking enclosed rooms so as to curb passive smoking or SHS (secondhand smoking). Second-hand smoke contains more than 7000 chemicals of which hundreds are toxic and about 70 can cause cancer.
Turkmenistan is another country that banned all tobacco sales in 2016. And Finland hopes to be tobacco-free by 2040. Finland is toying with the idea of prescription-only cigarettes.
The most recent ban comes from Brooklyn, Massachusetts, USA. They have put a ban not on the age of the individual but their birth year, on the right to purchase cigarettes, vapes, and cigars. Anyone born after January 1, 2000, will never be able to buy cigarettes legally even when they are 21, 40, or 50 years old. The goal behind it is the same as that of New Zealand, to stop the younger generation from getting an addiction and thus ensure a healthy population.
These bans will help deter future generations from getting addicted to the notorious nicotine thus saving them from deadly diseases.
These bans by developed countries are a welcome step towards the eradication of unhealthy smoking habits. They are baby steps towards a giant goal. Vision, after all, is everything.
What do you think?
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