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Plain packaging – Caring for our Children

Monday 25 February 2013

Plain packaging – Caring for our Children

Tala Pasifika congratulates the Government for making the decision to bring in plain packaging. It indicates the commitment of our government for better health outcomes by placing the necessary steps to reaching a Smokefree Aotearoa by 2025. “This is the kind of leadership New Zealand needs to ensure future generations live more healthy fulfulling lives” says Tala Pasifika Programme Manager Stephanie Erick. “It will see New Zealand standing with Australia against big tobacco, and will finally remove the tobacco industry’s important point of advertising in making smoking appear necessary and ‘cool’ to our children.”

Dr Colin Tukuitonga Director of The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Public Health Division says “This is fantastic and congratulates the efforts that have contributed to this decision”. SPC provides services to 22 Pacific Island states and at 66 years old is the premier regional organisation in the Pacific. The Public Health Division that Dr Tukuitonga leads is one of 7 programmes.

“The decision for plain packaging sets a tone and aspiration for smaller islands” says Dr Tukuitonga.

K’Aute Pasifika Director Peta Karalus said plain packaging could reduce smoking prevalence rates by encouraging smokers to quit and young people to think twice before taking a puff. K’Aute Pasifika Trust targets Pasifika communities in the Waikato region. The trust’s objectives include providing services and information in the areas of health, housing, employment, other social services, justice, immigration, and education. “Think about the money our families could be saving or spending on more useful items. Think about how the health system can potentially save nearly $2 billion that could be reinvested in our children and their future. This would signal to our communities that the health of today’s families and especially our children is far more important than the financial interests of overseas tobacco companies.” Says Mrs Karalus.

Statistics NZ says that overall, smoking rates among young people have declined. However, the Youth 2007 Survey found that twice as many Pacific students are regular smokers compared with European students.

2011 ASH Year 10 Survey results showed that Pacific students had the smallest decline in daily smoking rates from 2010 to 2011.

In the interest of protecting New Zealanders and our future generations from damage as a result of tobacco use, Tala Pasifika on behalf of Pacific communities and Pacific Tobacco Control services in NZ support urgent action for legislation to make plain packaging a reality.


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