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Smoke-free Bill moving towards Smoke-free NZ

Rotorua MP Steve Chadwick said the Government is pushing for New Zealand to be a clean, green, smoke-free country with the Smoke-free Environments (Enhanced Protection) Amendment Bill.

Ms Chadwick, who is sponsoring the Bill, said it will enhance the Government’s objective to reduce tobacco consumption. The Smoke-free Bill reinforces and tightens existing legislation on smoking.

She said New Zealand had made a good start to smoking legislation with the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990, but the new Bill would take this further with higher penalties for those who broke the law and further restrictions placed on who could smoke where and how tobacco products could be displayed for sale.

Ms Chadwick said there was a need to reinforce smoke-free office policies which were in place in many offices in the country, but which did not go far enough.

Therefore the new Bill would mean smoking was prohibited in common air space, space shared by two or more people in a room, that employers find a designated smoking area either within the workplace or outside and that employers have a written policy on smoking. The Bill also sought to ban smoking at educational institutions either on the premises or in the grounds.

Advertising and display of cigarettes at a supermarket checkout counter or store was also on the hit list. The Bill seeks a total ban on the display of any tobacco products or advertisement of them.

Ms Chadwick said the penalty for offenders ($10,000 fine for those who broke the law) would send out a firm message that New Zealand was moving towards being a smoke-free country.

She congratulated Hutt Valley Health on its hardline smoke-free policy which will force 1400 staff as well as hospital visitors (not patients) to leave the grounds to smoke. The policy, seen as possibly the toughest of any hospital in New Zealand, started yesterday.

The Smoke-free Environments (Enhanced Protection) Amendment Bill was first brought before parliament by former NZ First MP Tuku Morgan.

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