'Long-term': New Zealand model banning tobacco purchases in U.S. territory

In Brookline, Massachusetts, anyone born after January. 1, 2000, banned the purchase of tobacco products - on a regular basis.

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As New Zealand prepares to introduce one of the world's strongest anti-smoking laws, similar bans have already been imposed for some 10,000 miles in the Boston basin.

Earlier this month, New Zealand launched a program aimed at preventing young people from smoking in their lifetime.

The law, which includes other measures to ban smoking, may make it illegal to sell or supply tobacco products to people born after a certain date.

Under this proposal, from 2027 New Zealand's official smoking age of 18 will be raised annually, allowing existing smokers to continue buying tobacco products but making them restrictive to anyone born after 2008.

The proposal will make New Zealand's tobacco industry one of the most restricted in the world.

But it is not the first time to test age-related tobacco use.

In Brookline, Massachusetts - a wealthy area within the Boston metropolitan area - a by-law that came into effect in September permanently prohibits anyone born after January. 1, 2000, to purchase tobacco and vape products. That means people who this year turn 21 years old, the legal age in Massachusetts to buy cigarettes, can't do that at Brookline.

The idea is part of the same “non-smoking generation” organization New Zealand is working towards, says Katharine Silbaugh, a Brookline blockchain sponsor who is a law professor at Boston University and a senior official in the Brookline city government. .

He said he and other Brookline lawmakers had previously consulted with New Zealand lawyers as they implemented their national plan.

"There are direct benefits to doing what they do because someone who is really willing to buy cigarettes can cross city lines here," he said. “But there is overwhelming evidence that accessibility is increasing consumption, so it is not true that what Brookline is doing will not have an impact. It will have an effect. ”

Scenes From Brookline, MA's Coolidge Corner

A new by-law in Brookline, Massachusetts, prohibits anyone born after January. 1, 2000, to purchase tobacco and vape products. Boston Globe with Getty Images

Although united in their goal of eliminating tobacco use, Brookline and New Zealand face different challenges.

The Brookline by-law only applies to a white-city town with about 60,000 residents, with an average household income of $ 117,000. Local legislatures approved in November 2020 by 139 to 78 votes.

Tobacco use is not a major problem for Brookline to begin with: 6.8 percent of adult smokers, half of the national smokers nationwide, according to the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program, run by the provincial Department of Public Health.

The New Zealand program has been proposed nationwide for more than 5 million people, with 11.6 percent of all people 15 years and older smoking. The share rises to about 29 percent among indigenous Maori adults. The government's goal is to reduce the total to less than 5 percent by 2025.

Although applauded by health advocates, the program has received backlash from New Zealand politicians and organizations who see it as a government intervention that will hamper business.

Sunny Kaushal, head of an organization representing small business owners, predicted a “negative impact” on retail stores.

Citing figures from Z Energy, a petrol station, he said cigarettes accounted for about half of the store's sales.

Kaushal said his organization supported the initiative, but felt that affected businesses should be compensated.

The sign indicates that the University of Aukland campus is smoke-free in Auckland, New Zealand, on Dec. 9, 2021.

A sign indicating that the University of Aukland campus is smoke-free in Auckland, New Zealand, Dec. 9, 2021.David Rowland / AP

At Brookline, financial concerns are high among small businesses - but more so because they fear that customers will rush to the next city to buy tobacco products.