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Six out of 10 children see tobacco advertising in the home

Six out of every 10 children see tobacco advertising in the home

Smokefree Coalition and Asthma Foundation media release, 11 February 2014

Statistics NZ Census data shows 603,807 New Zealand children live in households where tobacco is smoked by a resident adult. Smokefree Coalition Director Dr Prudence Stone says this statistic indicates as many as six out of 10 New Zealand children could be exposed to tobacco branding on packs inside their home.

“Packaging is the last advertising avenue the tobacco industry has, and they invest heavily into brand design. Research has found pack design has a powerful impact on young people and that they find it attractive.[1] Allowing our young to be enticed into the slavery of a tobacco addiction threatens our goal of a smokefree Aotearoa by 2025 and it is well past time this method of promoting a deadly product was removed.”

Dr Stone says legislation requiring plain packaging for tobacco products, tabled in Parliament tonight by Associate Health Minister Hon Tariana Turia, will help protect New Zealand children from this form of tobacco advertising.

She says it is interesting there is little statistical difference between rich and poor in terms of children exposed to the branding on tobacco packs. Thirty three percent live in homes where total income is below $50,000; 39 percent live where total income is $50,000-$100,000; and 28 percent live in households where income exceeds $100,000.

“Growing up in New Zealand you are just as likely to be exposed to tobacco advertising on mantelpieces and coffee tables inside your home, whether your parents are wealthy or live below the poverty line – so this isn't just an issue for the financially disadvantaged.”

Medical Director of the Asthma Foundation Dr Kyle Perrin says asthma and many other respiratory diseases are caused or worsened by smoking and that it’s wrong to allow packaging to portray smoking as a glamorous and grown up.

“We know many parents and caregivers who smoke in families with children keep their homes smokefree to protect their kids from second-hand smoke. But tobacco industry marketing is at work on these children nonetheless so long as packs are left lying about where children might see them.”

The organisations are urging the public to support plain packaging legislation with submissions to the Health Select Committee. They support taking control of tobacco product design away from the industry to send a clear message that smoking is unattractive and deadly. Scotland is also tabling plain pack legislation at this time. Australia introduced plain pack law in 2011.

“Plain packaging is just one of many urgent next steps the Government must take if it is to achieve its Smokefree 2025 goal. There should be no delay. This is a measure that will help prevent our children from becoming the next generation of addicted smokers, which is exactly why the tobacco industry opposes it so vehemently,” Dr Perrin says.


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