Beyond smoking bans, New Zealand envisions being cigarette-free

Tobacco Bill Nears Passage, FDA Set To Gain Regula
A man smoking in New York City in a file photo from 2009.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Cigarette smoking is down sharply in the United States since the 1960s, according to the American Lung Association. Still, 19 percent of adults in America are smokers, leading to more than 393,000 deaths from smoking every year.

Various levels of government employ cigarette taxes, smoking bans and insurance breaks for nonsmokers to encourage an end to tobacco use. In New Zealand, the government has gone even further and committed to making the country smoke free by 2025, naming these goals:

• Our children and grandchildren will be free from exposure to tobacco and tobacco use

• The smoking prevalence across all populations will be <5%. The goal is not a ban on smoking.

• Tobacco will be difficult to sell and supply.

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So, how is Minnesota doing on anti-tobacco efforts? The American Lung Association gives it a mixed report card. The state received an A for smoke-free air, but F's for tobacco prevention and cessation.

Dr. Richard Hurt, director of the Nicotine Dependence Center at the Mayo Clinic, and Erika Seward, a vice president at the American Lung Association, join The Daily Circuit to talk about what governments can and should be doing about smoking.


Smoke Free Aotearoa 2025

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"An increase in Minnesota's cigarette tax is giving a boost to electronic cigarettes as an alternative to traditional smoking. The number of Twin Cities shops selling the 'e-cigs,' as they are called, has been rising, and shop owners credit the $1.60-a-pack tax increase that goes into effect July 1 for expanding interest." (MPR News)

U of M set to enact smoking ban for Twin Cities campus
"A tobacco-free campus has become an expectation ... rather than an innovation," President Eric Kaler was quoted as saying after the University Senate voted in favor of a smoking ban. "It's about time for us." (MPR News)