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“By 2020” recommends Smokefree Coalition

“By 2020” recommends Smokefree Coalition

Smokefree Coalition media release

12 December 2009
Embargoed until 12 Noon, 13 December 2009

The Smokefree Coalition held its second seminar in Wellington today [14 December] on the Maori Affairs Select Committee Inquiry into the tobacco industry and the consequences of tobacco use for Maori. New director Dr Prudence Stone presented the Coalition’s Vision for a tobacco-free New Zealand by 2020 to the seminar attendees.

“With our background research and recommendations, we know New Zealand can be smokefree by 2020,” Stone said.

“We must now hand that confidence over to the Select Committee, so that they share that confidence, when they hand those recommendations on to government.”

The seminar was held to help Coalition members make submissions to the Inquiry on the tobacco industry and the consequences of tobacco use for Maori. The Coalition’s members include the Quit Group, the Asthma Foundation, ASH, Cancer Society and the New Zealand Drug Foundation.

Te Reo Marama Director Shane Bradbrook presented a submissions Toolkit, saying opportunities like this, where the industry will be pinned down and unable to hide behind clever lawyers, come once in a lifetime.

“We’re talking about an industry that deliberately makes its products more addictive, lies to consumers and specifically targets indigenous peoples. It causes the deaths of 5000 New Zealanders every year, 600 of whom are Maori.

“The inquiry is a watershed event where tobacco companies will have to answer some very specific questions about their marketing and account for the misery their addictive wares have caused.

“I think in future we’ll look back on this Inquiry as having been the beginning of the end for the tobacco industry in New Zealand.”

The Quit Group’s Director Paula Snowden told members to find the smokers and ex-smokers willing to tell the Inquiry their personal stories about how misleading advertising helped them become addicted, and about the harms to themselves and their whanau that resulted.

Otago School of Medicine experts reinforced the Smokefree Coalition’s Vision for 2020, showing how a tobacco-free New Zealand could be achieved by 2020 through government legislation addressing supply and demand, and tobacco’s marketing and promotion.

Dr Tony Blakeley said ethnic inequalities in New Zealand mortality rates could be eliminated as soon as 2040, if only New Zealand became tobacco-free by 2020.

“The Good News this Christmas should be that New Zealand can!” said Stone. “Every submission made to the Maori Affairs Select Committee should recommend that it does!”

Submissions for the inquiry into the tobacco industry and the consequences of tobacco use for Maori can be written, oral or made online at

Submissions close on 29 January 2010.


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