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The Quit Group praises Select Commitee report

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

The Māori 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 Māori," 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 Māori.

"Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in New Zealand and 46% of Māori smoke, compared to 21% of non-Māori. The tobacco industry has strategically promoted tobacco use amongst Māori and as the report highlights, this has had a detrimental effect on Māori 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 Māori Affairs 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 Māori Affairs 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 Māori. In the year up to June 2010, The Quit Group helped 12,000 Māori clients to quit smoking through a range of telephone, online and text-based services. In the same period, over 7,300 Māori called 0800 778 778 and spoke directly with a Quitline Advisor.


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