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Growing support for smoking ban

Hon Damien O’Connor
Minister of Corrections,
Minister of Tourism,
Minister for Rural Affairs,
Associate Minister of Health

1 October, 2006
Media Statement
Growing support for smoking ban

More New Zealanders than ever support the ban on smoking in pubs, bars and nightclubs, according to a survey for the Ministry of Health.

Figures from the study "Reducing exposure to second hand smoke" show that 82 per cent of respondents approve of the total smoking ban – up from 74 per cent in 2005 and 61 per cent in 2004.

The number of smokers who approve of the ban has increased significantly - from 29 per cent in 2004 to 64 per cent in 2006.

Associate Health Minister Damien O'Connor welcomed the growing support for the smoking ban. "These results are very encouraging and demonstrate the role of legislation in both responding to and helping shape public opinion,'' he said today. "It is particularly pleasing to see such a huge jump in the number of smokers who approve of the ban."

When respondents were asked about smoking bans in restaurants the results were similar. In 2006 nearly 90 per cent of respondents supported smoking bans in restaurants, including 75 percent of smokers.

Second-hand smoke, which contains poisonous chemicals such as arsenic, hydrogen cyanide, ammonia and carbon monoxide, is estimated to cause between 174 and 490 deaths a year in New Zealand.

The Smoke-free Legislation introduced in December 2004 aimed to reduce New Zealanders' exposure to second hand smoke.

Since 2004 the number of people reporting exposure to second-hand smoke in the workplace has declined. In 2004 about 21 per cent of those surveyed reported they were exposed to second-hand smoke in the workplace. By 2006 that number was down to 8 per cent.

"Our goal is to see this number drop even further to ensure no one is exposed to second-hand smoke in their work environment,'' Mr O'Connor said.

The full results of the survey are available at www.moh.govt.nz

ENDS

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