Smoking Ban in New Zealand

A man smoking a cigarette
A man smoking a cigarette (source)

New Zealand will try to eliminate smoking with a combination of tough new measures. Most notably, the New Zealand Government will ban the next generation of New Zealanders from ever buying tobacco products in their lifetime. As current smokers get older, the minimum age to buy tobacco (currently 18) will rise with them.

To reduce smoking nationwide, other new rules include limiting the number of places where cigarettes can be sold, reducing the level of nicotine in tobacco products, and increasing funding for addiction services. E-cigarettes will not be affected by the new rules as they are seen as helpful to those who wish to stop smoking.

Critics say the rules will lead to a larger black market for cigarettes and an opportunity for gangs to make money. The new rules are also expected to economically hurt convenience stores which partly rely on cigarette sales to bring customers through their doors.

Smoking is New Zealand’s leading cause of preventable death, killing 14 people per day. For this reason, the New Zealand Government has the goal of eliminating smoking by 2025. While smoking rates among white New Zealanders are on track to meet this target, smoking is more popular among the main minority groups of Maori and Pacific Islanders.


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Worksheet with activities


Hear the article spoken:

Useful Language

  • Ban (n) - a rule saying that people can’t do or have something
  • Eliminate (v) - to remove something
  • Measure (n) - a method or way
  • Notably (adv) - especially, importantly
  • Nationwide (adj) - all through a country
  • Nicotine (n) - an addictive substance that is found in tobacco
  • Black market (n) - the market for illegal buying and selling
  • Leading (adj) - the top, the best
  • Preventable (adj) - can be stopped
  • On track (adj, idiom) - continuing in a way that will reach an expected result


Discuss the following questions with your partner(s).

  1. What things are banned in your country?
  2. How dangerous is smoking? How common is it in your community?
  3. It’s common to have age restrictions that apply to young people. Can an age restriction that applies to older people be successful?
  4. Convenience stores might lose business because of the new restrictions. Do you feel sorry for them? Should they receive money from the government to make up for the lost business?
  5. Smoking-related deaths are considered ‘preventable’. What other ways of dying are preventable? Should governments do more to reduce the number of people that die in those ways?
  6. If the black market grows and gangsters make more money, can we consider the new restrictions a failure?
  7. Is vaping, or smoking an e-cigarette, better than smoking a normal cigarette? Why or why not?
  8. Why do you think there are different smoking rates between different ethnic groups?
  9. Should a government have a goal like the elimination of smoking? What other goals should a national government have?
  10. What do you think about the NZ Government’s plan? Will it succeed?