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Clearing the smoke – a five year plan

27 October 2004

Clearing the smoke – a five year plan

As restaurants, bars and workplaces prepare to go smokefree on December 10, a major report's been released detailing further plans to tackle smoking harm in New Zealand.

Released today by Associate Health Minister Damien O'Connor, Clearing the Smoke: A five-year plan for tobacco control in New Zealand (2004-2009) reveals how the Health Ministry will progress tobacco control over the next five years.

It outlines the positive effects of past smokefree initiatives and provides advice on how to propel the nation more rapidly towards a smokefree status.

"The plan's vision is for a New Zealand where smokefree lifestyles are the norm," said Mr O'Connor. "Advancing tobacco control is possibly the most effective way to improve health status and reduce health inequalities in this country."

Clearing the Smoke presents five clear objectives. They are to: prevent smoking initiation promote smoking cessation prevent harm to non-smokers from second-hand smoke improve support for monitoring, surveillance and evaluation improve support and co-ordination for tobacco control activities

It also says there's potential for further regulation to control the promotion and marketing of tobacco products, including possible enhancing of cigarette packet warnings. As well, it emphasizes the need for continued mass media campaigns and school-based education programmes, which have both proved to be effective when combined with other anti-smoking initiatives.

"The health sector's made major progress in delivering smoking cessation programmes, with the Quitline service, heavily subsidised nicotine replacement therapy, and culturally appropriate smoking cessation services for Maori," said Mr O'Connor. "This plan encompasses the continued support and development of these programmes."

The Smoke-free Environments Act, which bans smoking in all indoor work areas, comes into force on December 10. Today's report also reveals strong scientific evidence from local and international studies showing such bans are effective.

ENDS


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