The New Zealand nudge that Big Tobacco must view with dread

RASHMEE ROSHAN LALL December 9, 2021

Photo by Mathew MacQuarrie on Unsplash

It’s been less than a day since New Zealand announced it would basically treat tobacco like alcohol for those aged 14 and under, but one might have thought Big Tobacco would’ve responded.

Maybe someone at Philip Morris is about to rush a statement out, but somehow, I think they will take their time.


It’s obvious really. If New Zealand’s attempts to make smoking both unaffordable and inaccessible catch on in other countries, especially in the growth sector in the East, it really will be curtains for tobacco giants.

Never mind the promises to stop making cigarettes in 10 years and suchlike, New Zealand’s new law will force change – of tobacco firms’ business model and how they next occupy themselves.

Consider what the New Zealand legislation proposes:

** the legal smoking age will increase every year

** reducing the legal amount of nicotine in tobacco products to very low levels

** cutting down the shops where cigarettes could legally be sold

** increasing funding to addiction services

The country’s associate health minister Dr Ayesha Verrall said: “We want to make sure young people never start smoking”.

That’s a big aspiration but this is the way to nudge it into being.