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MOH Pleased With Chewing Tobacco Prosecution

Media statement


21 January 2005

Ministry of Health pleased with chewing tobacco prosecution

The Ministry of Health is hoping the conviction of Babu Vallabh Ranchhod for selling chewing tobacco sends a deterrent message to others involved in the importation or sale of chewing tobacco. He has been fined $4000 in the Manukau District Court today after a New Zealand Customs seizure involving more than 230 kilograms of chewing tobacco.

The Ministry's Chief Advisor Public Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield says "We believe that the chewing tobacco market in New Zealand is mainly confined to the Indian community . There was a publicity campaign in 2003 where the public health services put notices in Indian community newspapers advising people that it has been illegal to sell or distribute chewing tobacco in New Zealand since 1990."

"There is clear evidence of harm from using chewing tobacco, with the risk of cancers of the mouth greater than from smoking. This law aims to protect people from avoidable illnesses, and we are especially keen to crack down on people who are breaking the law to make these products available and profit from them."

ENDS

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