New Zealand Could Ban Tobacco for People Born After 2004 | 22 Words

Controversial news just in from New Zealand...

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has just announced a suite of proposals.

via: Getty Images

But not everyone is happy about it.

Now, Ardern first became Prime Minister in 2017...

via: Getty Images

And her compassionate and progressive leadership immediately stood out from the rest.

Take her response to the Christchurch shootings, for example.

via: Getty Images

On March 15, 2019, New Zealand, for the first time in its modern history, witnessed a horrific terrorist attack on the Muslim community.

Fifty-one people lost their lives.

via: Getty Images

Ardern, who is agnostic, held a press conference to deliver a message to bring her country's citizens together.

“They are us," she said of the victims.

via: Getty

“New Zealand has been chosen because it was safe because it was no place for hatred or racism. Because we represent diversity, kindness, compassion, home for those who share our values. Refuge for those who need it." Then, addressing the shooter, she said: “You may have chosen us – we utterly reject and condemn you."

Her next move?

via: Getty Images

She immediately implemented tighter gun laws across the nation.

The move drew in even more widespread praise...

And has since been used as an example of how leadership should be done.

New Zealand has also become the latest country to stamp down on period poverty.

via: Getty Images

For Ardern, it's clear that achieving gender equality is at the top of her agenda. "Kindness, and not being afraid to be kind, or to focus on, or be really driven by empathy," she has said of what is at the core of her leadership approach.

Ardern continued:

via: Getty

“I think one of the sad things that I’ve seen in political leadership is – because we’ve placed over time so much emphasis on notions of assertiveness and strength – that we probably have assumed that it means you can’t have those other qualities of kindness and empathy. And yet, when you think about all the big challenges that we face in the world, that’s probably the quality we need the most."

It's not hard to see why Ardern is so passionate about women's rights...

via: Getty Images

She is the 3rd female prime minister of New Zealand and, at forty years old, the second-youngest prime minister... and the youngest female prime minister.

Ardern recently announced that sanitary products will be free for young women in schools across the country from this year...

via: Getty Images

Ardern said that sanitary supplies for a monthly period were not a luxury, but a necessity, and that too many girls were skipping school because they weren’t able to afford pads and tampons. “We know that nearly 95,000 9-to-eighteen-year-olds may stay at home during their periods due to not being able to afford period products. By making them freely available, we support these young people to continue learning at school," she said at the time.

Before the COVID outbreak, Ardern also had to deal with a volcano eruption in New Zealand...

via: Getty Images

And, she was once again praised for her empathetic approach to the disaster, which claimed the lives of sixteen people. Paying tribute to those who were tragically killed, she said: “Many people did extraordinary things to save lives, those who have been lost are now forever linked to New Zealand, and we will hold them close."

So, it's safe to say that in terms of leadership, New Zealand is faring pretty well...

via: Getty Images

But there's one aspect of Ardern's time as prime minister that stands out among the rest.

Her response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been nothing short of incredible.

via: Getty Images

Ardern's approach is certainly one of the most celebrated, especially when it comes down to how fast she acted.

The way she's navigated the pandemic has been widely praised...

According to Vogue, a recent poll found that Ardern is the country's most popular leader in a hundred years, with ninety-two percent of respondents saying they support the measures she implemented.

And, now that the vaccine is available...

via: Getty

She has gone above and beyond to make sure that, not only does her own country receive it, but her neighboring countries do too.

But Ardern's latest move is a little more controversial...

The plan is to raise the legal smoking age over time.

There's also a plan to ban the sale of tobacco to anyone born after 2004, effectively making smoking illegal for that generation.

The goal is for the entire country to be smoke-free by 2025.

"About 4,500 New Zealanders die every year from tobacco, and we need to make accelerated progress to be able to reach that goal [of Smokefree 2025]. Business-as-usual without a tobacco control program won't get us there," Associate Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall said on Thursday.

"These glaring inequities are why we need to protect future generations from the harms of tobacco. Tobacco is the most harmful consumer product in history and needs to be phased out," Cancer Society chief executive Lucy Elwood agreed.

What do you think of this proposal?

Scroll on for more political news ...