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Smokefree Bill: No Smoke, No Freedom

Smokefree Bill: No Smoke, No Freedom

ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy today slammed the Government's Smokefree Bill, calling it another nail in the coffin of New Zealanders' personal freedom.

"With scientific evidence on passive smoking still inconclusive, I predict that we will see little or no change in the rates of smoking related illnesses. Prevention and education programmes are the key to better health outcomes, not an assault on private property rights," Mrs Roy said.

"ACT opposes the Bill for a number of reasons, not least the breach of private property rights which mean that owners cannot allow smoking on their own premises - even if they, themselves, are smokers.

"And what of the bar-owners who have spent huge amounts of money on ventilation systems, due to indications that these would be an adequate compromise? Such systems provide a way to respect both freedom, and property rights - now, with this Bill being much stronger than originally expected, many owners are tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket.

"ACT does not advocate smoking. But we do believe that people have the right to choose to smoke, despite the risks, and to take responsibility for the consequences. Legislation banning smoking in public places takes away that right, and assumes that New Zealanders are incapable of making decisions for themselves," Mrs Roy said.

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