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Smokefree support skyrockets

28 April 2005 Media Statement

Smokefree support skyrockets

Associate Health Minister Damien O'Connor today welcomed the results of a new survey showing overwhelming public support for new smokefree laws.

The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation commissioned the UMR Research survey. It showed 70 per cent of people support the smoking ban in pubs and bars, which came into effect in December last year.

The survey revealed 42 per cent of smokers now support the ban, compared with 22 per cent in the previous survey conducted in November. Support from non-smokers increased to 75 per cent, up from 66 percent.

Mr O'Connor said he was pleased, but not overly surprised, by the results.

"From what I've observed and from the feedback I've received, the ban has been very widely accepted. People have been very supportive and all in all there's been very few problems with its implementation."

He said it was great that even smokers were appreciating the benefits of smokefree bars and pubs.

"The new law is about protecting all New Zealanders - smokers and non-smokers alike - from the effects of second hand smoke. It's the leading cause of preventable death in New Zealand, and at the end of the day it's difficult to argue that the ban is a negative step."

No one had lost their right to smoke; the ban simply meant reduced harm to others, he said.

Nationwide, only 195 complaints have been received since the smoking ban came into effect; 94 from licensed premises, 50 from workplaces, 29 from retail outlets and 22 from others (such as work vehicles and schools).

Of these, 115 have been resolved and smokefree officers are working with the remaining establishments to ensure compliance.

Where there have been blatant and repeated breaches of the ban, appropriate action has been taken.

ENDS

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