There are more than 500,000 adult smokers in New Zealand with 4000 people dying from smoking-related issues every year. At the moment around 3000 to 4000 shops are permitted to sell tobacco in the country, a number the Cancer Society would like to bring down to 200.
Speaking about restricting tobacco access, Cancer Society advocacy and wellbeing manager Shayne Nahu said that it would help to reach the Smokefree 2025 goal.
"We know it will work, it's been put in place overseas, and we also know the public is supportive of it. In 2018, the government did a survey where 68 percent, almost 70 percent of people supported making tobacco less available, so there's really strong public support," he said.
Professor Richard Edwards of the University of Otago Department of Public Health agreed but added it was crucial to have support in place for those addicted to nicotine, reports Radio New Zealand.
"You really need to make quit clinics and quit lines and all those sorts of things available as part of this intervention. It's not just reducing the availability, you've got to help smokers as well," said Edwards.