Brexit: Double standards called out on New Zealand’s border policy
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New Zealand announced that anyone under 14 would never be able to buy a cigarette for the rest of their life under new rules. These new rules are in the hope that the country will become smoke-free by 2025. As well as a complete ban on under 14s buying in the future, a plan to increase the age limit for cigarettes each year has also been suggested.
But Christopher Snowdon, Head of Lifestyle Economics at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, gave a stark warning about the “criminality and corruption” which may be encouraged by this ban.
Mr Snowdon said: “Prohibition never ends well.
“The last government that tried to ban smoking was ISIS.
“Before that, the only place where the sale of cigarettes was banned was Bhutan, but that prohibition ended in 2020 because tobacco smugglers were bringing COVID-19 into the country.
“New Zealand’s proposal is slightly more sophisticated, but it will lead to the same problems of criminality and corruption that always occur when governments try to ban popular products.
“Its exorbitant tobacco taxes have already resulted in an epidemic of shop robberies and other crime.
“New Zealand has done well in dampening demand for cigarettes by encouraging the use of e-cigarettes.
“Youth smoking is now at very low levels.
“The government should continue to focus on demand-side policies and not be diverted by destructive supply-side measures for which there is no economic or ethical justification.”
Simon Clark, director of the smokers’ group Forest, also took aim at the New Zealand Government, claiming the ban is “mad”.
He told Express.co.uk: “Any attempt to introduce a similar law in the UK would be fiercely resisted.
“You can’t have a two-tier society in which 30-year-olds are treated differently to 40-year-olds.
“Adults should be treated like adults whatever their age.
“This is about freedom of choice and personal responsibility and politicians in the UK should think very seriously before they sink to prohibition as a tool to achieve their smoke-free aims.
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“This is prohibition in all but name and prohibition very rarely works.
“If tobacco is made illegal to people born after 2008 it won’t stop younger generations from smoking.
“The sale of tobacco will simply be driven underground and consumers will buy tobacco on the unregulated black market.
“The impact of this policy will hit non-smokers as well because the government will have to replace lost revenue by taxing something else.
“Absurd, illiberal policies like this are what happens when governments set unrealistic targets to go ‘smoke-free’.
“As the target date approaches politicians resort to ever more draconian measures to meet whatever year they have arbitrarily set.
“Incredibly, under this proposal, if you’re 32 in New Zealand in 2040 you will be allowed to buy tobacco but if you’re 31 you will be committing a crime and could face serious consequences.
“How mad is that?”
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