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Cancer Society Backs Bold Measures In Government's Proposal For A Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 Action Plan

Wellington, 15 April 2021 - Cancer Society says Government's proposed smokefree plan includes bold and forward-thinking measures that are needed at this time to make smokefree 2025 a reality.

Smoking is the biggest cause of cancer and preventable deaths in New Zealand. It is estimated that tobacco kills about 13 New Zealanders every day.

The proposed Smokefree 2025 Action Plan includes significantly reducing the number of retailers able to sell tobacco, limiting the nicotine content of cigarettes, and raising the age of purchase every year so that anyone born after 2004 could never lawfully be sold tobacco.

Chief Executive Lucy Elwood says New Zealand needs a suite of bold and brave measures to dramatically improve the health of New Zealanders.

"This proposal goes beyond assisting people to quit. The Government is demonstrating a commitment to preventing young people from starting to smoke and bring smoking rates down."

"We congratulate Associate Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall for progressing this important work and for including strong and effective actions to both reach Smokefree 2025 goals and reduce health inequities," says Lucy Elwood.

"We encourage the public to let the Government know they support the Smokefree 2025 goal. They can do this by making a submission, signing our recent petition calling for a significant reduction in the number of shops able to sell tobacco or share their stories with us to inform our own submission.”

On average, six shops are selling tobacco within a 10-minute walk of New Zealand secondary schools. There are four times more tobacco retailers in low-income communities where smoking rates are highest.

"These glaring inequities are why we need to protect future generations from the harms of tobacco," says Lucy Elwood. "Tobacco is the most harmful consumer product in history and needs to be phased out."

The Cancer Society also strongly supports the plan to reduce the appeal and addictiveness of tobacco. The tobacco industry designs cigarettes to be highly addictive due to their high nicotine content and makes them very appealing by using additives and flavours. Prohibiting flavours, and significantly reducing their addictiveness would prevent young people from starting and support people trying to quit.

"We will engage in the consultation process and support the strongest and most effective actions to ensure New Zealand will be smoke-free by 2025," concludes Lucy Elwood.

Read more:

  • Our petition calling for a significant reduction of tobacco retailers is available here.
  • Five Strategic Approaches to Achieving the Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 Goal.

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