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Why The Smokefree Legislation Must Be Passed

Why The Smokefree Legislation Must Be Passed

This Wednesday, December 3, the long awaited Smoke-free Environments (Enhanced Protection) Bill is scheduled for its third and final reading. The Bill proposes the banning of smoking in all workplaces, including restaurants, bars, clubs and casinos.

After a two-hour debate, MPs will vote on the legislation which, if passed, will save the lives of hundreds of New Zealanders who would otherwise die as a result of exposure to second-hand smoke.

Smokefree Coalition chair and executive director of the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation, Jane Patterson says that the Act will come too late for Tauranga man, David Simm.

“David is a life-long non-smoker who was regularly exposed to a smoke-filled atmosphere in his workplace. He is suffering from terminal lung cancer. His doctors are clear that passive smoking is to blame.”

Despite attempts by a number of groups to delay the passage of the Bill, putting up what she describes as “at best spurious and at worst malicious” arguments, Ms Patterson says she is confident that at last the right decision will be made.

And she is delighted the legislation requires all indoor workplaces to become 100 percent smokefree within 12 months. A poll conducted this year showed that public support for smokefree bars has increased greatly over the past three years, jumping from 28 percent to nearly 50 percent of the public in support.

A study undertaken by the Health Sponsorship Council in 2003 found that 88 percent of people said they would either be more likely to go to a smokefree bar or that it would make no difference to whether or not they went.

• Jane Patterson says that a number of health groups and other organisations have worked long and hard to ensure the passing of this legislation, They include:

The Smokefree Coalition The Cancer Society of New Zealand The National Heart Foundation of New Zealand The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation of New Zealand Apârangi Tautoko Auahi Kore (Mâori Smokefree Coalition) ASH. The Smokefree Coalition has prepared the following fact sheet which summarises the evidence and arguments for smokefree hospitality venues.

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