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Smokefree Bill Passage Welcomed

Media release
3 December 2003

Smokefree Bill Passage Welcomed

The passing tonight (Wednesday, December 3) of the Smoke-Free Environments (Enhanced Protection) Amendment Bill will save the lives of hundreds of New Zealanders every year says the Cancer Society of New Zealand.

Chief Executive Neil Chave said the Cancer Society, along with many other health organisations, had worked extremely hard to achieve this result.

“There is no question that second-hand smoke can – and does – kill. There is no acceptable justification for exposing employees to this risk in their working environment. The Government is to be congratulated for making the right decision.”

Mr Chave said there is still a great deal of work to be done in the area of education, and in particular ensuring young people never start smoking.

While debate around the Bill has tended to focus on the issue of smoke-free restaurants and bars, Mr Chave said the legislation contains a number of other provisions which will play a valuable role in reducing youth smoking.

“It’s great to see that schools and educational institutions for young people will become 100 percent smoke-free indoors and outdoors and that vending machines will only be able to be activated by licensed premises staff to prevent under 18s accessing tobacco products.”

Other measures such as restrictions on counter displays and on packaging cigarettes with other products such as lighters and radios were also helpful, Mr Chave said.

“This Bill is long overdue. It’s not about being anti-smoking. It’s about saving the lives of people who have chosen not to smoke, who have until now been put in situations where toxic second-hand smoke was a fact of their environment.”

…ends/

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