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ASH appalled by call for longer sentences for tobacco theft


20 March 2018

Immediate Release

ASH is appalled by British American Tobacco New Zealand general manager Ed Mirana’s call for longer sentences for tobacco theft.

ASH Programme manager Boyd Broughton said; ‘Yet again, BAT is being disingenuous, and trying to shift the blame to communities instead of taking responsibility for their killer activities’.

British American Tobacco New Zealand general manager Ed Mirana said the Government needed to act now as dairy owners, retailers, families and their staff should not be going to work fearing for their lives.

Broughton said; ‘BAT has no concern for the families of 4,000 New Zealanders, over 600 Māori, who die from using their products as they are intended to be used, every year, for the thousands who fear for the lives of their loved ones who are slowly dying because they are addicted to BAT products. If Ed Mirana really gave a toss about whether people lived of died, his company would stop selling cigarettes’.

‘It has been widely accepted since the 1950s that smoking kills, and Ed Mirana’s company is responsible for hundreds of thousands of Kiwi deaths in those same communities he is claiming to care for since then. Perhaps he has a suggestion for a minimum sentence for pushing New Zealand’s deadliest drug for 60 years?’ added Broughton.

ASH strongly insists there needs to be some evidence-based discussions regarding the tobacco tax regime with consideration to robberies, poverty and consideration of financial inequities nationally, but Broughton says the minimum sentencing that BAT is calling for is not a solution; ‘Tobacco is addictive, and deadly – yet BAT is fighting for the right to flood our communities with the most harmful products and worse they are leveraging of real life tragedies in those communities, they are leveraging of a very real fear, which the addiction to their product is the central cause of. To reduce all the negative side effects of tobacco, such as death, illness, and crime we need to reduce the impact of the product. Steps such as making it less addictive, less satisfying, and ensuring smokers have cheap access to much less harmful alternatives’ concluded Broughton.

ENDS

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