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“NZ History Of Tobacco Control” Booklet Launch

Media Release: Embargoed: 6pm Thursday 26th June 2008

Cancer Control Council Launches “NZ History Of Tobacco Control” Booklet

The Cancer Control Council of New Zealand today launched a booklet entitled “Tobacco Control in New Zealand: A History”. The booklet charts the changes to tobacco control in New Zealand since 1945.

The Council provides independent advice on cancer issues to the Minister of Health and the cancer community.

Council Deputy Chair and oncologist Chris Atkinson says:

“This is a very interesting history and one we can learn a lot from.”

“It was less than 60 years ago that the then Department of Health was advising people to limit themselves to no more than 6 or 8 cigarettes a day. Now we know that tobacco smoking is responsible for nearly 5000 deaths and much disease every year, and the Ministry of Health sees reducing tobacco use as a major health priority.”

“The Council believes that this history of tobacco control will be an excellent aid for those who are working in the tobacco control community by providing context and perspective in this often very challenging field.”

“It was written by the Council’s analyst, Scott Trainor, 24, in an interesting and informative style.”

“This booklet provides a clear understanding of how society’s views of tobacco have changed, what we have done as a nation to reduce the harm caused by tobacco and what interventions have worked.”

The public education, legislation, health promotion programmes and medical support and lobby groups that have helped to denormalise tobacco use are all documented in the booklet.

Statistics on tobacco use recently released by the Ministry of Health shows that it is declining in popularity. Results from the Ministry of Health’s comprehensive 2006/07 New Zealand Health Survey – “A Portrait of Health” puts New Zealand’s smoking prevalence at a record low of 19.9 per cent for current daily smoking (aged 15 years and over).

“It is clear that the various programmes and initiatives detailed in the booklet are having a positive impact on how New Zealanders view tobacco, but the Council believes that there is still more work to be done.”

“While we have seen the success of initiatives like banning smoking in our workplaces, raising tobacco taxes and subsidised Nicotine Replacement Therapy, the focus now needs to turn to banning tobacco displays in shops.”

The Council will be advising the Minister of Health to support implementing a ban on tobacco retail displays as soon as possible.

“ ‘Tobacco Control in New Zealand - A History’, shows clearly that it takes a combination of interventions to have an impact and that the denormalisation of tobacco is key to achieving further reduction in smoking rates (and reducing deaths and disease that are caused by tobacco). The lessons of this fascinating subject, compiled in this easy to read booklet will help shape our response to tobacco control in the future.”


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