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Delamere: Herbal cigarettes unsafe

Hon Tuariki Delamere
Associate Health Minister

Media statement
For immediate release
12 October, 1999

Delamere: Herbal cigarettes unsafe

Parliament should consider banning sales of herbal cigarettes to children, Associate Health Minister Hon Tuariki Delamere said today.

Mr Delamere said three Australian states have banned sales of herbal cigarettes to under 18-year olds, and others are considering it.

"New Zealand could well follow suit. An amendment to the Smoke-free Environments Act, which will be carried over to the next Parliament, could be a useful vehicle for such a ban, if it’s considered necessary.”

In the meantime, the Government and the Ministry of Health would continue to monitor the impact of herbal cigarettes in Australia.

Mr Delamere says herbal cigarettes should not be regarded as a safe alternative to tobacco.

“It concerns me that these cigarettes are sometimes presented as a ‘healthier’ alternative to tobacco or as stop-smoking aids. In fact, in terms of levels of tar and particulate matter herbal cigarettes are similar to tobacco.

“Regardless of the substance, inhaling smoke from any burning organic matter is dangerous to your health.”

Mr Delamere said the risks of developing respiratory problems, heart disease, strokes and cancers due to smoking herbal cigarettes is likely to be markedly increased in comparison to non-smokers.

“I am particularly concerned about the marketing of Ecstasy herbal cigarettes, which are available in Australia, and may soon be on sale here. This brand is marketed to appeal to young people, with promoters attempting to link the cigarettes with illicit drugs.”

Mr Delamere said that herbal cigarettes were not currently subject to the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 as they did not contain tobacco.

Ends


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