By the twenty-first century, the world has come to realize that tobacco is addictive and that its risks are diverse.
New Zealand has taken the global war on smoking efforts to an unprecedented level, as it decided to ban the sale of cigarettes completely to new generations, so that those under the age of 14 could not legally buy tobacco.
According to the decision announced by New Zealand at the end of last year and scheduled to enter into force this year, children born in 2008 will not be able to buy tobacco and its products even after they reach the legal age, with the legal smoking age gradually raised every year, in an attempt to reach its goal of making the country free completely out of smoking within the next four years.
New Zealand’s decision does not come in isolation from other countries. Over the years and decades, many countries have sought to reduce smoking, and have imposed many measures to prevent it, so how were those measures?
What does cigarette smoking mean?
Smoking is the inhalation and exhalation of fumes from burning plant materials, usually tobacco. According to the Australian Department of Health, tobacco contains nicotine, an addictive drug that can have stimulating and calming psychoactive effects.
Tobacco makers add other ingredients to it when processing cigarettes, cigars, and other toxic, cancer-causing chemicals that affect health.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, the most common tobacco products were cigars, pipe tobacco and chewing tobacco, and the mass production of cigarettes was just beginning.
Although it was believed at the time that tobacco products cause some harmful health effects, it was also considered that tobacco had medicinal properties, which made many scientists at the time advocate its use for effects such as improving focus and performance, relieving boredom, and improving mood, according to Britannica.
By the twenty-first century, the world realized that tobacco is addictive, and that its risks are diverse, most notably, according to the World Health Organization:
- Smoking kills more than 8 million people every year around the world, including more than 7 million who use it directly, and about 1.2 million non-smokers who are exposed to its smoke unwillingly.
- Its use increases the risk of cancers of the head, neck, throat, esophagus and oral cavity (including cancer of the mouth, tongue, lips and gums), as well as various other dental diseases.
- Secondhand smoke increases the risk of infants developing sudden death syndrome.
- Smoking in pregnant women causes pregnancy complications and low birth weight.
Acceptance followed by rejection
At one time, smoking was widely accepted, and it was even allowed on cruise and air flights, but there were people affected by the unclean air, which prompted some American airlines in the seventies of the last century, to create sections for non-smokers, but with the passage of time. In the air through the cabin, almost all passengers can inhale a dose of nicotine.
The US government began phasing out smoking in 1988. By 2000, it was banned on all US flights, and the rest of the world followed suit, until Cuban state-owned airline Cubana banned smoking on international flights in 2014, according to The Pointsgay ( Thepointsguy).
After the harms of smoking were proven, many countries have adopted the directives of international health organizations to reduce smoking, and among these methods, as stated in Statnews:
The policy of raising the price of cigarettes in different countries has proven its ability to reduce the demand for it, and raising the value of taxes on cigarettes is the most effective way to reduce it, especially among young people and low-income groups.
This is what happened in Turkey, when cigarette prices jumped more than 40% from 2008 to 2012, during which time the smoking rate fell by about 15%.
- Illustrated health warnings
Images and graphics on cigarette packs send powerful messages to consumers, and these images have already contributed to some smokers quitting cigarettes.
Australia is famous for disturbing images on cigarette packs, such as: gangrene feet, or cancerous mouth, as well as Canada and some other countries, and researchers have linked graphic posters in Australia to reduced tobacco consumption there.
- Reducing tobacco advertising
Banning advertising and promotion of tobacco through advertisements on television, radio, print publications and billboards, contributes significantly to reducing its consumption.
Indeed, China – where half of adult males smoke – has banned many forms of tobacco advertising, and the United States has preceded it since the late 1990s in imposing advertising restrictions on cigarettes, and researchers have praised that a comprehensive advertising ban is effective in reducing smoking.
A must ban
Previous methods proved effective in reducing smoking, but some countries did not find it sufficient, especially after pressures from non-smokers regarding their right to clean and clean air.
Countries such as Norway, New Zealand, Uruguay, Malta, Italy, Sweden, Scotland, Bhutan, Lithuania and the British Virgin Islands – since 2004 – have banned smoking in public places, similar to what a number of US states did in the eighties of the last century, when they enacted laws restricting smoking in public places, workplaces and restaurants. , according to a study titled “Change in the Air: Smoking Ban Gaining Momentum Worldwide” published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
According to Global News, some countries have imposed a strict ban on tobacco, which has contributed to significantly reducing smoking rates, and among those countries is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which has banned smoking in government places and many public places, including supermarkets, cafes and restaurants, The sale of tobacco to persons under the age of 18 is prohibited.
In Canada, smoking is prohibited in cars with children and adolescents, while in Bhutan, Asia, the country implemented in 2010 one of the most stringent tobacco control legislation in the world, by banning the sale or smuggling of tobacco, and those found guilty of the crime serve a prison sentence from 3 to 5 years.
Recently, New Zealand decided to ban the sale of cigarettes completely to new generations, in addition to other measures to make smoking expensive and inaccessible, and according to “The Guardian”, other measures include reducing the legal amount of nicotine in tobacco products to very low levels, and reducing stores that can be Cigarettes are sold legally.