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Imperial Tobacco Address Maori Affairs Committee

Imperial Tobacco Address Maori Affairs Select Committee

Imperial Tobacco New Zealand today addressed the Maori Affairs Select Committee inquiry into the tobacco industry.

Imperial Tobacco entered the New Zealand market in 1999, almost a decade after the passing of the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990, which prescribes how tobacco products are to be sold in New Zealand. The Act prohibits all forms of advertising and sponsorship of tobacco products.

Sales and Marketing Director Tony Mears emphasised to the Committee that Imperial Tobacco sells and distributes its products in line with the Government’s regulatory framework. He said Imperial Tobacco understood the concerns of the Committee members in relation to the disproportionate level of smoking by Maori, including the uptake of smoking by rangatahi.

We support tobacco regulation that is reasonable, proportionate and evidence based.

Tobacco is one of the most highly regulated products in New Zealand today. The focus of further regulatory interventions should be on targeted education to specific groups and increased retailer compliance of the current law to prevent under 18s from accessing tobacco products, such as tough penalties for retailers who break the law.

We manufacture and sell a product that is legal in New Zealand. We believe no cigarette is safe and smoking should be a matter of informed adult choice.

Imperial Tobacco does not undertake any forms of advertising or promotion, which are prohibited by the smoke-free legislation and this includes marketing to specific ethnic groups. Customer demand influences the distribution of our products, Mr Mears told the Committee.

ENDS

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