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Public urged to take part in tobacco review


4 August 2004

Hon Matt Robson MP, Progressive Deputy Leader

Progressive urges public take part in tobacco review

Progressive MP Matt Robson is urging members of the public to find the time to participate in the democratic consultation process initiated by the government as it reviews current smoke-free environment regulations.

"Nearly five million people die each year from smoking-related illnesses, and the truth is that health professionals and us politicians have known for decades about the catastrophic effects of tobacco on people," Matt Robson said.

"The truth is that politicians, even from otherwise pro-family parties, won't get tough enough on dangerous drugs like tobacco unless the general public make their voice heard very loud and clear," the Progressive MP said.

"If society had known the dangers of tobacco when tobacco was first discovered, most sensible people would have demanded it be banned just as they demand that cannabis be kept illegal.

"Unfortunately, societies didn't know the dangers of tobacco in the 1700s and 1800s so it is up to current generations to deal with the consequences of the menace of this dangerous, legal drug by progressively reducing the legal options available to producers and consumers of tobacco," the Progressive MP said.

The biggest single drug problem in New Zealand is caused by alcohol. Whereas moderate use of alcohol may be beneficial empirical research indicates clearly that every single puff of tobacco or cannabis is bad for human health.

The Labour Progressive government today announced that labels on tobacco products and other issues will be considered as part of a review into the Smoke-free Environments Regulations.

The review will help ensure our regulations are consistent with requirements of the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control that New Zealand ratified earlier this year.

ENDS

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