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Tobacco Industry Must Be Reined-in

Tobacco Industry Must Be Reined-in

Media release, embargoed to 6am, Friday 7 October 2005

The Smokefree Coalition and the Public Health Association are welcoming calls from researchers for strengthened controls on the tobacco industry.

Researchers from the Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences have found that policies to directly erode tobacco industry power may contribute to significant declines in smoking, and should be used in New Zealand. The research is published in the New Zealand Medical Journal today.

Smokefree Coalition Director Leigh Sturgiss says that if the health sector wants to save lives, it needs to make life difficult for the tobacco industry – which has been responsible for the preventable deaths of thousands of New Zealanders.

“Tobacco companies that sell their products in New Zealand include British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco and Philip Morris. They make a huge profit – and it’s blood money.”

She says over the years the industry has spent billions of dollars denying that its products are harmful, denying that second-hand smoke is harmful, and denying that cigarettes are addictive. It has fought moves to provide people with information about the harmful effects of smoking.

“This is why the product and industry must be strictly regulated.”

Dr Gay Keating, the Director of the Public Health Association, says that tobacco companies deserve special treatment.

“The tobacco industry produces the only product that kills half its consumers when used as the manufacturer intends. If tobacco was introduced today it would be a Class A drug and would never get onto the market.

“The PHA supports the introduction of strong policies that restrict tobacco industry activities.”


ENDS

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