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RCPA Calls On New Zealand Government To Rethink Decision On Smoking Ban

The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA) calls on the New Zealand Government to rethink its plans to repeal a law that would have gradually banned all cigarette sales in the country. The RCPA had welcomed the new legislation which, it says, would have had significant public health benefits and warns that repealing these plans puts New Zealander’s health at risk.

Dr Elizabeth Roberts, RCPA Vice President New Zealand said,

“This is a backwards step for public health. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths in New Zealand, and this world-leading legislation offered the opportunity to prevent illness, reduce disease and save lives. This is particularly the case for the Māori community who continue to face health inequities. New Zealand was set to become the first country in the world to ban smoking for the next generation and other countries such as the UK were looking to us to inspire their own similar smoking legislation; it is simply unfathomable that our government is backtracking on these plans.

“Smoking harms almost every part of the body, reduces life expectancy and quality of life, and increases the risk of many conditions and diseases. This includes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, amongst many more, all of which rely on pathology testing for diagnosis. As pathologists we see first-hand the devastating effects that smoking can have on the body, it is therefore even more frustrating to see this opportunity taken away.”

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The new measures included banning sales or tobacco to anyone born after 1 January 2009, reducing the amount of nicotine allowed in smoked tobacco products, cutting the number of retailers able to sell tobacco by over 90%.

“Our goal of being smoke-free by 2025 felt within reach but now feels so far. We appeal to the government to rethink their decision to repeal the ban,” said Dr Roberts.

For further information on the RCPA, please visit www.rcpa.edu.au or see updates on Facebook - @PathologyRCPA, X (formerly Twitter) - @RCPAPresident, @PathologyRCPA, or Instagram - @the_rcpa #RCPA #pathology #MedicineIsPathology.

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