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Tobacco giants lobbying power must be reined in by Govt

MEDIA RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE USE

28/08/2019

AUCKLAND ACTION AGAINST POVERTY

Tobacco giants lobbying power must be reined in by Govt

Auckland Action Against Poverty is calling on the Government to better regulate tobacco giants such as Philip Morris and Imperial Brands following attempts by Philip Morris to aggressively sell vaping products to low-income communities. Philip Morris has written to DHBs and organisations such as AAAP to try and sell its vaping products at a time where the vaping market is still unregulated.

“We support people finding solutions that work for them and make them feel empowered to reduce the harm that comes from smoking, which is why big tobacco companies who profit from marketing tobacco products need to be better regulated”, says Ricardo Menendez March, Auckland Action Against Poverty Coordinator.

“If tobacco companies were genuinely interested in public health and reducing the harm that comes from nicotine based products, they would not be aggressively targeting low-income communities to sell highly addictive and expensive products. The way in which Philip Morris has approached AAAP is disingenuous because it does not factor the health and financial harms associated with its own vaping products.

“As the Government considers regulating the vaping product market, we ask that politicians shift from regressive tobacco taxes and laws that criminalise drug users, and instead focus on curbing the power big tobacco companies have over communities and lawmakers. If the Government wants to genuinely treat drug use as a health issue we can’t have big tobacco products making a profit out of people’s addiction.

“Better regulating big tobacco companies means introducing more restrictions on the advertisement of their products, as well as taxing the companies’ big profits in order to better fund grassroots public health initiatives. The current regulations focus too much on consumers themselves, with the tobacco excise tax putting the onus on consumers who are the ones most affected by the lack of regulations on big tobacco companies.

“Spaces where people can discuss alternatives to traditional tobacco products without being targeted by companies are crucial, which is why Philip Morris and other tobacco giants undermine the Governments’ own Smokefree targets. We are calling on the Government to do more to uphold the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control which clearly states that there’s an irreconcilable conflict between the interests of companies such as Philip Morris and public health policy interests.

ENDS


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