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Under proposal, young New Zealanders would be banned from smoking for life

Under proposal, young New Zealanders would be banned from smoking for life
One part of the plan, if it's passed next year, would reduce the number of stores in New Zealand that can sell tobacco products, and even then the cigarettes for sale must have very low levels of nicotine. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 9 (UPI) -- New Zealand unveiled a lofty plan Thursday that's designed to protect young people from the dangers of smoking -- a ban on cigarettes for as long as they live.

Under the plan, the minimum age to buy tobacco products in New Zealand would rise each year -- effectively preventing younger people from ever reaching the legal smoking age.

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Officials say the plan, called Smokefree 2025, is the first of its kind and will ban cigarettes for everyone born after a certain date. That date has not yet been determined.

"This is a historic day for the health of our people," New Zealand associate health minister Dr. Ayesha Verrall said in a statement.

"Smoking is still the leading cause of preventable death in New Zealand and causes one in four cancers. Smoking related harm is particularly prevalent in our Maori, Pacific and low income communities."

New Zealand's Parliament is expected to pass the plan sometime next year.

One provision of the plan aims to cut smoking in New Zealand to fewer than 5% of the population by 2025. Another part will reduce the number of stores that can sell tobacco products, and even then the cigarettes must have very low levels of nicotine.

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It's not expected that vaping products would be affected by the ban.

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