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Quit Group Praises Tobacco Report

The Quit Group praises Maori Affairs Select Committee
for holding the tobacco industry accountable

The Maori Affairs Select Committee's report on the tobacco industry in Aotearoa is a landmark document which at last holds the tobacco industry accountable for the role it plays in causing both sickness and early death among Maori," according to New Zealand's national smoking cessation support organisation, The Quit Group. The report, which was published today, followed an extensive inquiry focussing on the consequences of tobacco use for Maori.

"Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in New Zealand and 46% of Maorismoke, compared to 21% of non-Maori. The tobacco industry has strategically promoted tobacco use amongst Maoriand as the report highlights, this has had a detrimental effect on Maori health, society, culture and development," says The Quit Group's chief executive, Paula Snowden.

"Tobacco needs to be out of sight and out of mind and one of the biggest challenges for people trying to quit is the fact that tobacco is so prominently displayed in retail outlets. We highlighted this in our submission to the MaoriAffairs Select Committee and therefore commend the Committee's call to ban prominent displays of tobacco products and advertising at the point of sale," Paula continues.

Plain packaging for cigarettes has already generated positive results in Australia and The Quit Group urges the New Zealand Government to introduce similar measures here. The Quit Group also welcomes the MaoriAffairs Select Committee's recommendations that the tobacco industry funds smoking cessation treatments.

The Quit Group agrees that additives should be stated on tobacco packaging and that information such as the sugar content needs to be highlighted on cigarette boxes as is the case with any other product.

The Quit Group is committed to reducing smoking rates throughout New Zealand with a particular focus on priority populations, such as Maori. In the year up to June 2010, The Quit Group helped 12,000 Maoriclients to quit smoking through a range of telephone, online and text-based services. In the same period, over 7,300 Maoricalled 0800 778 778 and spoke directly with a Quitline Advisor.

For further information or interview requests, please contact Sarah Nelson on 021747077.


-Ends-

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