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Smokefree Bars Will Restore Choice

Smokefree Bars Will Restore Choice

The Health Select Committee report release this week recommending that all restaurants and bars be required to be completely smokefree restores a basic right of choice to all New Zealanders working in the hospitality industry, says the Cancer Society.

“If people want to take an action which has been proven to cause cancer, then that is their choice. But there is also proof that people die from second hand smoke in the workplace, and people who work in a smoky bar, have no way to avoid it. No choice,” says Cancer Society Chief Executive, Neil Chave.

The Cancer Society has actively campaigned about the risks of exposure to second-hand smoke which kills nearly 350 people each year in New Zealand. Almost a third of these are attributed to second-hand smoke in the workplace.

One of the society’s advertisements features a couple in a restaurant. “Mind if I smoke?” the man asks his companion. “Mind if I die?” she replies.

“Many bar workers are exposed to high levels of second-hand smoke, day after day, week after week. This legislation aims to protect their health,” Mr Chave says.

“This is not about denying smokers the right to smoke. It’s about saying to smokers ‘please go outside to have your cigarette, so the bar staff don’t have to smoke it with you’. After all, that’s what you have to do in virtually every other workplace in New Zealand.”

The Cancer Society says the Health Select Committee is to be congratulated for its recognition of the health risks associated with second-hand smoking and for its recommendations which could very well save many lives.

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