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Time to smack the smoke and vaping companies out of the park

Time to smack the smoke and vaping companies out of the park: New Zealand Maori Council calls for tighter regulations

“How is it we accept that vaping should be some sort of alternative to smoking and therefore nothing to see here, let’s just accept that the 2025 target of a smoke free New Zealand won’t be met and lets all get on the vape. I have never heard such lunacy coming from health providers and promoters and Government policy makers in my life.” Said Matthew Tukaki, Executive Director of the New Zealand Maori Council.

The New Zealand Maori Council has come out swinging against global tobacco giant Phillip Morris and their representative who claim “it’s the right thing to do” in terms of transition from smoking to vaping:

“I have never heard so much swill and nonsense coming from the mouth of a paid employee from a company who has presided over the deaths of probably millions of people worldwide by their smokes now somehow suggesting vaping is an alternative – a company that owns these types of products and are of course pushing to make a profit. I would remind Philip Morris and any other cancer encouraging tobacco companies that no one in their reasonable mind would accept that sort of behaviour.” Tukaki has said

“The harsh reality is that Maori are more likely to be smoker or to have been smokers and we also have the highest rates of lung cancer in the country. Its also a reality that these smoke companies have been trying to form partnerships with Maori and Pacific communities not because they are promoting some sort of alternative but because they are selling products – they are selling products to the most vulnerable in our community, our people – they sure as hell are not saving them.” Tukaki said

“What I also find remarkable is that little money trail has apparently found its way into our research community - Marewa Glover set up the Centre for Research Excellence: Indigenous Sovereignty and Smoking in 2018 and in just one year has received $1.5 million from the US-based Foundation for a Smoke Free World – who funds that? Phillip Morris. So I’d like to know just who else the vapers and the smoke companies are funding including health promotion outfits.” Tukaki said

Let’s face they are all plying a trade amongst the most vulnerable in our society and its not always clear who is paying the piper. To stop this hoha this is what the Maori Council will be forceful on when it comes to politicians and policy makers:

We need to rededicate the nation to be smoke free by 2025
There needs to be a public register of donations and funding made by the tobacco companies to New Zealand organisations and individuals – and that should be expanded to include the vaping industry
The vaping industry should be bought under the same laws and rules and the tobacco companies – that includes a ban on advertising, a ban on sponsorship and more labelling around the harmful impacts of vaping on society
The Ministry of Education should create a new policy or update the existing policy around the banning of products from schools and school grounds
Vaping should be included in rules regarding public spaces and all advertising in public view or space should be banned

“Now this is not Maori Council being some sort of fun police. The reality is we have the responsibility to prevent lung cancer and preventable disease as a nation. My goal here is to ensure that we reduce the rates for Maori and that must include busting the old business model of some of the health promotion organisations who do nothing more than condition us all into acceptance. If we reduce these rates of cancer the impact on the health system can be measured in the savings of tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of dollars. But the impact to whanau can only be measured in life lived to the fullest and for the longest.” Tukaki said

“And my message to big tobacco and the vaping sector? On your bikes. My message to the Associate Minister of Health responsible for this area – be bold and be brave, fight against the tide and don’t get swept up the by the hoha / nonsense.


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