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New Zealand: Smokefree in 15 years?

Published: 6:49PM Tuesday November 02, 2010 Source: ONE News/NZPA

A leaked copy of the Maori Affairs Select Committee Inquiry into the tobacco industry reveals a push for New Zealand to be smokefree by 2025.

The report is due out tomorrow, but excerpts leaked to ONE News show radical plans to cut smoking rates in half over the next 10 years and make New Zealand a smoke-free nation within 15 years.
                  
The Maori Affairs Select Committee has undertaken months of hearings into the state of the tobacco industry.

ONE News' political editor Guyon Espiner said tonight sources have told him radical measures will be recommended, including banning the display of all tobacco products in retail outlets; putting all cigarette and roll your own tobacco in plain packaging and extending places in which you cannot smoke to cars and other public places.

Recommendations are also believed to include getting the tobacco industry to fund stop smoking measures such as quit programmes and smoking cessation drugs.

As well, the report says the government should reduced the amount of tobacco imported into New Zealand, and what does get in should have an increase in excise tax on it.
 
Prime Minister John Key said getting New Zealand to be smoke free within 15 years would, however, be a huge ask.

The recommendations are not binding on the government, and Key was cautious when reporters asked him about it.

"It would be extremely difficult," he said in response to questions about making New Zealand smokefree by 2025.

"The good news is less people are smoking and there is greater awareness of the damage that you can do to your health."

The government has already increased the price of tobacco since the last election, and more price rises are in the pipeline.

"We know that young people particularly are more likely to be put off smoking if the price of cigarettes rises," Key said.

The government was worried about young people smoking, he said, and that was why the price had been increased.

"Nothing that you do is more predictable to cause damage to your health than smoking," he said.

Around 20% of people in New Zealand smoke, although among Maori the figure is closer to 40%. In December 2004, New Zealand became the third country in the world to make all indoor workplaces, including bars and restaurants, smokefree.

"Far-reaching"

Last week, Maori Party Mp Hone Harawira told TV ONE's Close that the report was expected to be far-reaching and would gain world-wide publicity.

"We will be the first western government to recommend some of the things proposed," he said.

"Within the report are enough options for Tariana Turia ( Maori Party co-leader) to take serious steps to put a dent in the industry and impact the lives of millions of New Zealanders."

He said recommendations made by submitters include increasing tobacco taxes, banning retail displays and attractive, colourful packaging and regulating tobacco imports.

Harawira told Close Up he hoped the proposals will "lead to a smoke free Aotearoa."

What do you think? What impact will these changes have if they go ahead? Have your say on our message board below.

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  • smokehelp said on 2010-11-05 @ 09:29 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Smokers need better options to help them get off tobacco. Patches don't address the reasons people smoke. Electronic cigarettes are working for people around the world. We need to formalise this in NZ so that nicotine versions can be sold here.

  • Churchur said on 2010-11-04 @ 01:49 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Waste of money. Nobody cares about what the packets look like, so why waste money forcing companies to change the design? Pass a law making nicotine e-cigarettes legal and lower the cost of food - if you want to do something that will actually work.

  • Palpatine001 said on 2010-11-03 @ 15:21 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Before people get huffed up about rights and so on let me put this into perspective. One is people that advocate rights forget responsibilities that come with those so called rights. May I recommend using wikipedia to read the definition of "Demerit Good" and "Consumer Sovereignty." Simply put as tobacco is a demerit good - the state has every right backed by UN Law to "curtail" the consumption of demerit goods. Simply put it can impinge our your so called rights for the good of society.

  • cueboy said on 2010-11-03 @ 15:14 NZDT: Report abusive post

    So says the man from Ash Ben Youdan 5000 People die from cigaretts every year. I wonder how many folks die each year in total from Alcohol and all the other associated reasons.Its about 13.7.People a day from cigarretts.Be very interesting to know what all the other thousands die of annually.Yes indeed the thin end of the proverbial wedge,As previous post says Fish N Chips next.Then the pc brigade will be ranting about offending other people from ethnic back rounds. Then to the flak will fly.

  • smoking said on 2010-11-03 @ 15:02 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Electronic cigarettes is the answer. www.elusion.co.nz

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