Countries worldwide have reduced but not eliminated tobacco smoking. The prospect of a non-smoking society seems ultimately dependent on youth of the future breaking the generational cycle of addiction. New Zealand has attracted worldwide attention by setting a timeline for banning tobacco sales year by year to more and more young people and moving towards a smoke-free society. A new law expected to pass by the end of next year will slash by 75 per cent the number of shops that can legally sell tobacco from 2024, allow only products with very low levels of nicotine to be sold from 2025, effectively ban the sale of tobacco to people born after 2008 and progressively lift the legal smoking age from 18, starting in 2027. Public health experts say these are world-leading tobacco control measures and a potential game-changer, particularly the reduction of nicotine levels. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the plan was focused on ensuring young people did not take up smoking in the first place. Creating a smoke-free generation is part of a campaign to reduce the prevalence of smoking to less than 5 per cent by 2025. Despite the health and socio-economic costs of smoking, some people will see the new measures as draconian. But while many convenience stores in New Zealand would have to adapt to a loss of trade, most tobacco addicts say they want to quit. Representatives of small retail outlets for cigarettes argue that gangs and criminals will fill a gap in the market with illegal trafficking – not unlike Hong Kong’s problem with smuggling to evade tobacco tax. That is a separate issue of law enforcement and deterrent punishment. The new measures may not suit every society, but they will be closely watched by other countries, including Hong Kong, which already bans the sale of tobacco to under-18s and has a smoking rate of about 10 per cent. Ironically, despite both having a strong anti-smoking stance, there is one aspect on which the Hong Kong government and the New Zealand prime minister do not see eye to eye. Asked about vaping, she said it was an alternative that worked very successfully to help people stop smoking. Hong Kong has banned the import and sale of e-cigarettes because activists and educators say the devices encourage people to take up smoking.