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NZers' health not as important as Australians’

28 February 2006

New Zealanders’ health not as important as Australians’.

Australia has introduced new graphic health warnings on their cigarette packets that will help reduce smoking rates in Australia and save lives.
From tomorrow, (1 March 2006) all tobacco products imported and manufactured for retail in Australia are to be printed with the new graphic health warning labels. These new warnings provide smokers with information on an expanded range of health effects.

ASH New Zealand is outraged that New Zealanders are not benefiting from the same health warnings. Australian smokers will not only be better informed about the health hazards of smoking but also be more motivated to try and quit.
ASH NZ believes that Kiwis have the right to be as equally informed as their Aussie counterparts.

“The Ministry of Health held consultations for improved health warnings in October 2004 and now almost 18 months on, we still have no action.” says Becky Freeman, Director, ASH NZ. Several health groups including ASH, the Smokefree Coalition and the New Zealand Drug Foundation called for the implementation of graphic health warnings on all tobacco products in October of 2004.

ASH NZ emphasises that clear and distinct pictorial warnings are a vital public health measure aimed to ensure that New Zealanders enjoy smoke-free healthy lives.

“People might initially feel fear and disgust but research done in Canada has found that 47.4 percent of adult smokers who had seen and read Canadian pictorial warnings had attempted to quit smoking or had reduced their cigarette consumption,” says Ms Freeman.

Research undertaken by BRC Marketing and Social Research in New Zealand has shown that the elements that had the most impact were clear, bright pictures and bold, simple warning messages supported by informative (yet brief) additional text.

“We believe that the Australian Ministry of Health has made a bold move in order to protect the health of Australians and we insist that the Ministry of Health in New Zealand follow suit,” says Ms Freeman.


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