New Zealand's newly-formed coalition government has revealed that it intends to reverse legislation introduced under former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to ban cigarette sales in 2024 to individuals born after 2008.
The coalition government led by PM Christopher Luxton, which was sworn in on Monday, has stated its desire to repeal anti-smoking amendments — which also included limiting the amount of nicotine in cigarettes, as well as a reduction of tobacco retailers from 6K to 600 — by March 2024.
The prohibition of substances never works, and New Zealand's smoking ban was a poor decision in the first place. Those who couldn't have legally purchased cigarettes would have accessed them regardless, and the country's black market would've inevitably grown. While the government may have found alternatives to provide meaningful tax cuts, the reversal of cigarette prohibition kills two birds with one stone.
This decision prioritizes short-term funding over the long-term health of the country. With New Zealand's health services losing out on at least hundreds of millions of savings over the next two decades, as well as approximately 5K deaths a year no longer predicted to be prevented, the nation's younger generation is destined to bear the brunt of this poor decision later down the line.
There's a 50% chance that a country will implement a total civilian ban on the consumption and smoking of tobacco by January 2033, according to the Metaculus prediction community.