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Tobacco Availability Falls

27 February 2002

In the last year tobacco and cigarettes available for consumption has fallen, this is extremely pleasing says Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia who has delegated responsibility for tobacco control.

In the statistics released yesterday, cigarettes available for consumption, fell 17.2 per cent in the year to December 2001 and tobacco available for consumption, fell 7.2 per cent in the same year.

"Tobacco kills and causes great harm to many New Zealanders and their families, so to see the availability dropping is extremely promising.

"While New Zealand does have a good record in tobacco control, particularly in both smoking rates and the amount smoked in New Zealand, we are in no position to be relaxed about our current rates.

"The government has taken a comprehensive approach to tobacco control and have implemented a programme that includes:
- legislation and enforcement, such as restricting advertising, sale and use;
- taxation;
- health promotion, encouraging changes in attitudes and behaviour such as healthly lifestyles, involvement in sports and recreations activities;
- cessation services, services to help smokers quit and stay quit, such as intervention programmes Quitline and Aukati Kai Paipa and NRT and other targeted intervention programmes.

"Our aim is to enable New Zealanders to increase control over and improve their health by limiting the harms and hazards of tobacco use and to reduce the prevalence of tobacco smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke.

"It will continue to take the combined efforts and commitment of government, community organisations and communities themselves to combat a substance as addictive and hazardous as tobacco.

"The Smoke-free Environments (Enhanced Protection) Bill is currently in the Health select committee and is due to be reported back to the House on 31 May this year.

"This furthers the government's commitment to enhance smokefree environments and promote healthy lifestyles.

"It is no longer socially acceptable to light up wherever you want, nor is it to expose children, families and other smokefree people to the dangerous fumes of tobacco.

"Nothing is more upsetting than seeing parents and other family members smoking in cars with children or within their homes.

"I will continue doing everything I can to build on the improvements we see today," Tariana Turia said.

Ends

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