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New Zealand Urged To Use Smokefree Status

New Zealand Urged To Use Smokefree Status To Attract Events Media statement,

2 February, 2006

The Smokefree Coalition is urging New Zealand cities to use the fact that they are smokefree as a point of difference when they bid for host-city rights to international meetings and conferences. Smoking has been banned in indoor workplaces in New Zealand, including bars, restaurants and clubs, since December 2004.

A letter from the Harvard School of Public Health published recently in the journal Tobacco Control, cited Auckland as “a world-class smokefree city” and ranked it alongside Dublin, Rome and Oslo as an ideal venue for international health meetings.

The authors said large-scale annual meetings in the US contributed millions to host-city economies and that was reason enough to fly the smokefree flag.

Smokefree Coalition director Mark Peck agrees.

“There is fierce competition throughout the world to host these big meetings and New Zealand can capitalise on being different from the smoke and smog of most cities because we can offer clean air both inside and outside our world-class conference venues.

“Our smokefree status will be a particular advantage when trying to attract meetings with a health focus. Health professionals are well aware of the benefits of smokefree environments, and are likely to favour a country with safe indoor air.

“We already boast unrivalled countryside. New Zealand is poised to take on the biggest meetings in the world as well as the big budget movies once made in the US. Being smokefree is just one more reason to come here.”

Secondhand smoke kills around 350 New Zealanders a year, making it the leading environmental cause of death in this country.

BACKGROUND

Second-hand smoke contains a lethal mix of more than 4,000 chemicals, such as arsenic, hydrogen cyanide, ammonia and carbon monoxide. Two hundred are poisons, 43 cause cancer.

Second-hand smoke has been shown to contribute to:

coronary heart disease lung cancer acute stroke eye and nasal irritation nasal sinus cancer.

Second-hand smoke is particularly dangerous for children, and can cause chest infections, glue ear, childhood asthma, and deaths from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS, or cot death).

Second-hand smoke comes from two places: smoke breathed out by the person who smokes, and smoke from the end of a burning cigarette.

For more information on second-hand smoke, see www.secondhandsmoke.co.nz.

ENDS

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