“Labour’s command and control stance on banning smoking and reducing nicotine content is nanny state politics that will have unintended consequences,” says ACT’s Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“ACT will be voting against the first reading of the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Bill because it is short-sighted prohibition, plain and simple.

“History tells us that prohibition doesn’t work. Eventually, we will end up with a black market for tobacco, with no standards or regulation, and people will be harmed.

“The best way to wean people off tobacco is to allow the market to innovate and deliver products like vaping. Sadly, Labour has cracked down on that, too. This is just bad policymaking.

“By radically reducing the nicotine content of cigarettes, smokers who can least afford it will spend more on their habit and in turn do harm to those around them. Labour is actually forcing people to inhale more tar so they can consume the same amount of nicotine, it’s ridiculous.

“This policy will hammer poorer New Zealanders the hardest. Some people might wean themselves off cigarettes, others will continue doing everything they can to smoke more for the same hit, costing them and their families more money.

“Kiwis deserve better than a Government who believes banning things and seizing control of our lives is the answer.”