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Tobacco Industry Running Scared

6 November 2002

Tobacco Industry Running Scared

British American Tobacco is clutching at straws by questioning second-hand smoke death figures, says the Cancer Society of New Zealand.

British American Tobacco today presented to the Health Select Committee considering the Smoke-free Environments (Enhanced Protection) Amendment Bill. The Bill proposes restricting smoking in restaurants and bars. Health groups would like to see a total ban on smoking in these venues.

Health Promotion Programme Manager Liz Price says that figures of around 350 deaths in New Zealand a year from exposure to second-hand smoke are robust, and came from a study published in a reputable tobacco control journal, carried out by respected researchers.

“The tobacco industry is terrified of a ban on smoking in restaurants and bars because it will affect their bottom line – their profits. That’s why it is questioning the science around the harm caused by second-hand smoke. The industry knows that if people are not able to smoke in restaurants and bars, they will smoke less. There goes the market.

“Questioning the figures is a ploy that has been used by the tobacco industry internationally.”

Ms Price says that bars have been smokefree in California for four years, and the news is all good.

“Despite doom and gloom predictions from the US tobacco industry and hospitality groups, smokefree bars in California were followed by increases in profits, jobs and tourism.

“The only industry that loses when restaurants and bars are smokefree is the tobacco industry.”


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