How long do you have to wait until you’re old enough to buy a cigar, or another tobacco product? If you live in New Zealand, the answer may be forever, thanks to a new rule aimed at creating a lifetime ban on buying smoked tobacco for a good portion of the country’s population.
Today, the island country’s Ministry of Health announced the Smokefree 2025 Action Plan aimed at completely eliminating the sale of tobacco products, specifically those that are smoked, which inherently seems to include cigars. The plan won’t take immediate effect and won’t directly affect those who are currently old enough to purchase tobacco. Rather, it is for the next generation.
Under the newly proposed legislation, there will be a progressive raising of the legal buying age for smoked tobacco products every year. Increasing the minimum age will mean that eventually no one in New Zealand will be able to purchase tobacco, and it’s specifically aimed at the youth of the country. Currently, people who are 18 years old are able to purchase tobacco, but if this law passes, beginning in 2025 that minimum will increase to 19. In 2026, it will be 20; in 2027, it will be 21; in 2028, it will be 22; and on and on for eternity.
What that means is today’s 14 year olds will never be able to legally purchase a tobacco product in New Zealand in their lifetime.
Although the original bill outline doesn’t explicitly state which products are included in the newly proposed law, it refers to them as all “smoked tobacco products.” As with most tobacco legislation, this is aimed at cigarette smokers, but the wording appears to cover all tobacco that is smoked, including cigars.