Goodbye, Marlboro Man

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New Zealand passed a law Tuesday that would impose a lifetime ban on the young from buying cigarettes, a unique plan to phase out tobacco smoking in the country, the Associated Press reported.

The bill says that tobacco can never be sold to anyone born after Jan. 1, 2009. It would also order a reduction in the level of nicotine allowed in tobacco and severely lower the number of retailers allowed to sell tobacco from 6,000 to 600.

Observers said the new legislation will mean that the minimum age for purchasing cigarettes will continue to rise. In principle, an individual wanting to buy a pack of smokes in 50 years would need to present ID proving they were at least 63 years old.

Officials explained the move would help the country’s health system save billions of dollars by not having to treat the many diseases related to smoking, such as cancer and heart attacks. They added it would also bring about generational changes leaving a legacy of greater health for future generations.

While many lawmakers across party lines supported the bill, the libertarian ACT party said the ban amounted to a “nanny-state prohibition,” adding that it would force many small corner stores to go out of business because they cannot sell cigarettes.

They noted that the ban could also result in the creation of a black market.

The new law does not affect vaping, which has already topped smoking in popularity in the country.

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