As New Zealand gears up to introduce one of the world’s toughest anti-smoking laws, a similar ban has already been instituted nearly 10,000 miles away in a Boston suburb.
Earlier this month, New Zealand unveiled its plan intended to stop young people from ever smoking in their lifetimes. The legislation, which includes other curbs on smoking, would make it illegal to sell or provide tobacco products to people born after a certain date.
Under the proposal, starting in 2027 New Zealand’s legal smoking age of 18 would be raised year by year, allowing existing smokers to continue buying tobacco products but effectively making them off-limits for anyone born after 2008.
In Brookline, Massachusetts — a wealthy suburb nestled alongside Boston's city limits — a bylaw that went into effect in September forever prohibits anyone born after Jan. 1, 2000, from purchasing tobacco and vape products. That means that people who this year turned 21, the legal age in Massachusetts for buying tobacco, are unable to do so in Brookline.
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The idea is part of the same “tobacco-free generation” movement that New Zealand is working to achieve, said Katharine Silbaugh, a co-sponsor of Brookline’s ban who is a professor of law at Boston University and an elected official in Brookline’s town government.