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NZ’s biggest killer fails to receive the Roger

Smokefree Coalition disappointed NZ’s biggest killer not awarded the Roger

The Smokefree Coalition is disappointed Imperial Tobacco did not win the Roger Award for Worst Trans-national Company operating in New Zealand, despite manufacturing products that kill 5000 New Zealanders every year.

Hosted by the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa, the annual Roger Awards were held in Nelson last night.

The Smokefree Coalition had nominated Imperial Tobacco, and Executive Director Dr Prudence Stone said she was disappointed the judges did not regard Imperial Tobacco’s death toll sufficient to award it worst place.

“Imperial Tobacco is not simply a rogue industry, it’s a hostile one. It produces and markets millions of tobacco products at a time when this nation and the Pacific region at large are committed to becoming smokefree.

“Its products kill half its consumers, and its packaging markets its brands to children. It’s hard to see how any other transnational industry in New Zealand more worthy – more shameful in its operations – than Imperial Tobacco.”

Members of the Smokefree Coalition will appear before the Health Select Committee today to speak in support of the Smoke-free Environments (Tobacco Plain Packaging) Amendments Bill. The Royal New Zealand Plunket Society and the Cancer Society of New Zealand are two of more than 50 members in support of regulating the way tobacco products are packaged, to reduce their appeal to young people.

“Plain packaging is part of a broad endgame strategy for tobacco, which New Zealand’s government is committed to implementing before 2025. This will prevent Non Communicable Diseases and so much health inequity amongst our people attributed to smoking,” Dr Stone said.

“Imperial Tobacco needs to get the message that they are not welcome here!”

Philip Morris Australia recently announced it was shutting its headquarters in Australia and moving to Korea. It insisted the reasons were not related to Australia’s recent implementation of plain packaging. However, Dr Stone says the move suggests multiple regulations upon the manufacture and supply of tobacco help make an environment inhospitable for tobacco company operations.

“If New Zealand wants the tobacco industry gone, it should consider all regulatory measures that Australia has in place, and more.”

Ends

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