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Smokefree groups applaud drop in smoking rates


Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and Smokefree Coalition


Smokefree groups applaud drop in smoking rates but urge the Ministry of Health to continue to implement effective legislation

New report highlights decline in smoking rates

23.4 percent of adult New Zealanders smoked in 2004, according to a Ministry of Health report; this is a reduction from 25 percent in 2002. Those that continue to smoke are also smoking less than in 2002. Each adult smoked an average of 11.7 cigarettes per day in 2004 down from 13 cigarettes per day in 2002.

The Tobacco Facts 2005 released by the Ministry of Health earlier today shows that smoking prevalence and cigarette consumption is reducing gradually.

Becky Freeman, Director, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) says, “The reduction in prevalence and drops in consumption shows that investing in tobacco control programmes is an effective way of improving public health. We are now seeing real results across all age groups and ethnicities.”

Leigh Sturgiss, Director, Smokefree Coalition says,” I am confident that we will see an even greater reduction in smoking rates following the one year anniversary of the smokefree environments act. You can no longer smoke when you are at work, out for a coffee, or at your local. For many smokers this is that extra push they need to successfully give-up.”

However, both Ms Freeman and Ms Sturgiss agree that despite the overwhelming evidence of the effectiveness of tobacco regulation, we clearly have a long way to go to meet our public health objectives of reducing smoking.

“If the Ministry of Health is serious about continuing this downward trend in smoking then we must act quickly to enact proven solutions like increasing the tax on tobacco, placing picture warnings on cigarette packets and removing all cigarette displays from point of sale,” says Ms Freeman.

The publication, Tobacco Facts 2005 is available at www.moh.govt.nz

-Ends-

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