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Seen as one of the world’s toughest crackdowns on the tobacco industry, New Zealand is planning to impose a ban that will mean young people will never be allowed to buy cigarettes during their lifetime.

The new legislation means that the legal smoking age will increase every year. This means that those who are currently aged 14 and under will never be able to buy tobacco.

On Thursday, Associate Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall said the idea behind increasing the age every year is to create a smoke-free generation of New Zealanders.

“This is a historic day for the health of our people,” she said.

The Guardian reports that other measures announced by the government to make the country entirely smoke-free within the next four years, including reducing the legal amount of nicotine in tobacco products to very low levels, cutting down the shops where cigarettes could legally be sold, and increasing funding to addiction services.

The new laws will not have an effect on the sale of vapes, something that has been a matter of concern.

Surging interest in vaping among young New Zealanders may undermine a government crackdown on the tobacco industry and its aim to get people to kick the habit, reports Reuters. New Zealand was late in regulating vaping and is still relatively liberal, allowing up to 60 milligrams of nicotine per millimetre of liquid compared with the European Union which has a 20-milligram cap.

Image credit: ABC News

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