New Zealand bans all smoking in public spaces on September 1

Some New Zealand residents will be banned from smoking in public places on September 1, in a bid to clean up the country’s big cities.

The changes will forbid smoking inside enclosed spaces, including workplaces, schools, hospitals, government buildings, and public and private transport terminals, and within 200 meters of the entrance to any space.

Of course, “smoking” also means “smoking tobacco products” under the new law, according to the Associated Press. People who smoke will not be penalized and will still be able to smoke outside their homes.

The restrictions will also make it illegal to buy cigarettes for use as a gift, or to sell them for the same reason. The new law could do little to alleviate New Zealand’s nearly 70 percent smoking rate, though New Zealanders are bucking the trend with British Columbia now having among the world’s lowest rates of smokers, with only around 10 percent of the population chewing up cigarettes.

The new rules are a drastic change from the current status quo, in which current smoker’s are able to set up in the woods outside the country’s major cities to enjoy free puffing. The new law comes as New Zealand faces severe air pollution, with around two-thirds of the population breathing unhealthy air, and with the country’s central city of Auckland having been dubbed the world’s most polluted by a recent study.

Another law that comes into effect on September 1 will make an average of 95 percent of the country’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2030.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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