New Zealand to become the second country to ban smoking in public

Photo New Zealand is set to become the second country, after Australia, to ban smoking in public places. New Zealand’s Cabinet will meet on Friday to formalize the decision, New Zealand’s Sunday Star Times…

New Zealand to become the second country to ban smoking in public

Photo

New Zealand is set to become the second country, after Australia, to ban smoking in public places.

New Zealand’s Cabinet will meet on Friday to formalize the decision, New Zealand’s Sunday Star Times reported. Once the ban has been formally approved, the country’s Parliament will then pass legislation to enforce the ban — which will require smokers to light up in the privacy of their own homes, on the beach or near a special designated smoking zone.

“The message we are sending is that we want you to quit smoking. The reason we are banning smoking is because we think people smoke because they have chosen to,” Health Minister David Clark told reporters on Wednesday.

The only exceptions to the ban will be for medical or religious reasons. The ban will also apply to “non-smokers of comparable age and ability,” according to the newspaper.

Australia became the first country to ban smoking in public places in 2007. The first classes of public smoking bans will begin there on Monday, including Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach.

That Australian ban is a legacy of late health minister Tony Abbott, who was also known for his robust anti-smoking stance and who was hailed as a hero of the New South Wales Coalition and Family First parties, the opposition’s Christian and Republican wing.

New Zealand’s almost-900,000 smokers have so far protested the government’s decision, complaining that the government is violating the country’s freedom of association.

Anti-smoking advocates like Frank O’Connor, of the Smokefree 2025 Campaign, have urged businesses to adapt to the new rules.

“The restaurant and bar industry have been so resistant to the changes they are reluctant to accept the ban will even work in a place like our city of Auckland,” he told NZ’s The Standard. “The simple advice we have given to them is that in our environment, they can’t use this as an excuse to do the wrong thing.”

A New Zealand smoking-related death rates of 1.2 percent as of 2016, compared to about 1.8 percent for Australia.

Read the full story at New Zealand’s Sunday Star Times.

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