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Smokefree Coalition Director Walks Out of Seminar

Smokefree Coalition Director Walks Out of Seminar
For immediate release, Friday 24 March 2006

Smokefree Coalition Director Mark Peck has this morning walked out of a tobacco control seminar in Auckland because of the presence of an associate of the tobacco industry.

The purpose of the seminar – Towards a Smokeless New Zealand – is to consider strategies to reduce smoking rates in New Zealand.

Among those at the seminar was Geoff Drucker, who is associated with an American smokeless tobacco company. Smokeless tobacco can cause cancer and a number of non-cancerous oral conditions, and lead to nicotine addiction and dependence.

“I find it offensive in the extreme that someone associated with an industry that sells a lethal product would try to sit down with tobacco control workers and go through the pretence of wanting to reduce rates of tobacco use,” Mr Peck said.

“Over the last few weeks we have seen the case of Janice Pou played out in the Auckland High Court. The late Mrs Pou – a constituent of mine when I was the Member of Parliament for Invercargill – had taken a case against British American Tobacco (NZ) and WD & HO Wills. She blamed her lung cancer on tobacco industry lies about the glamour of smoking.

“As expected, the tobacco industry fought this case tooth and nail – we are currently awaiting the Judge’s decision.

“The Pou case shows very clearly that the tobacco industry is not prepared to accept responsibility for the lives it has wrecked.

“How dare industry associates now try to influence New Zealand’s tobacco control policy.”


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