New Zealanders want cigarettes banned by 2020..

February 1, 2010 - Tupeka Kore Aotearoa 2020 (Tobacco Free New Zealand, Aotearoa is the Māori (indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand) name for New Zealand) Half the nation, including smokers, support completely banning cigarettes within 10 years, a study has found. The 2008 Health and Lifestyles Survey compiled nationwide interviews from the [New Zealand government agency] Health Sponsorship Council (HSC) of 1608 people, including 422 smokers, and has just been published in the NZ Medical Journal.

Smokefree Coalition: Tobacco Free New Zealand 2020 (Tupeka Kore Aotearoa 2020) Achieving the Vision..

It found 49.8 percent of people agreed cigarettes should no longer be sold in New Zealand in 10 years, 30.3 percent disagreed and 19.9 percent neither agreed nor disagreed. Of the smokers surveyed, 26.2 percent agreed and 55.3 percent disagreed.

The study also showed public support for plain, unbranded cigarette packets and fewer tobacco retailers. Pacific Islanders, in particular, showed strong support for the measures.

One of the study's authors, Dr George Thomson, from the University of Otago, Wellington, called on the Government to take action. "There's now a need for politicians to embrace and act on the idea of a foreseeable and planned end to tobacco sales through a predicable timetable by 2020. The public wants more defined action to reduce smoking, and not a series of incremental steps." The researchers said smoking was more affordable now than in 2001 and said the Government should increase tobacco taxes.

The average income had gone up but tobacco tax had not been raised above inflation.
"While the existing measures, such as smokefree legislation and improved quit support, are very important, if tobacco is becoming relatively more affordable, then these efforts are undermined and smoking is unlikely to decline, as price relative to income is a critical factor in the NZ market," researcher Professor Richard Edwards said.

About 21 percent of New Zealanders smoked, causing more than 4000 deaths annually, and $1.5 billion in health costs. In particular teenage and low income smokers were price sensitive, he said. The majority of the public supported increasing tobacco tax above inflation, the study found. Even most smokers supported the move providing additional revenue was used to fund measures to reduce smoking. Currently less than 5 percent of the $1 billion tax revenue from cigarettes was put toward anti-smoking measures - far more should be used to help people quit and stop young people from starting, the researchers said. "This help could include more prime-time mass media campaigns and greater Quitline capacity," Prof Edwards said.

"Tobacco tax increases targeted at helping people to quit have been successful here and overseas, and could help reduce harm to the health of New Zealanders due to smoking and reduce health inequalities."

The researchers said there had been relatively little reduction in smoking since 1991, despite measures such as banning smoking in bars and clubs and introducing graphic pack warnings, and New Zealand was out of step with other countries which had greater reduction in smoking through policies discouraging smoking.

The Scottish Parliament this week voted to end the display of cigarettes and tobacco products in shop as well as banning sales from vending machines in a bid to deter children from taking up the habit. Labour Associate Health spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway, who has drafted a private member's bill to ban smoking displays, applauded the move. (New Zealand - government may NOT support tobacco display bans..) He called for the Government to address the issue and not wait for his bill to be drawn from the ballot. (More evidence - tobacco displays increase the risk of teens smoking..) "Governments around the world are taking this next logical step in the fight to reduce smoking rates. It's time we caught up."

Recently, Finland announced it aims be the first country to try to create legislation to end smoking altogether.

Reference: New Zealanders want cigarettes banned by 2020,, 1/29/2010.

New Zealand related news briefs:
New Zealand - Maori women - almost 50% smoke..;
New Zealand - more and more teenagers turned off by smoking..;
New Zealand - loophole in the law banning tobacco sponsorship..;
New Zealand - University of Auckland to go smokefree - 1st university in country..;
New Zealand - smoking ban in bars results in less smoking at home..;
New Zealand - study, tobacco displays leads to increase in youth smoking..;
New Zealand - graphic warnings cigarette maker selects less offensive images..;
New Zealand - Maori committee to investigate smoking..;
New Zealand - Tairawhiti Board wants tobacco sold only on prescription..;
New Zealand - health researchers calling on government to ban importation of tobacco..;
New Zealand - 1st trial ever of e-cigarettes..;
New Zealand - BAT reducing prices discouraging people from quitting..;
New Zealand - stop smoking campaigns NOT working..;
BAT awarded worst corporation in New Zealand..;
New Zealand - government may NOT support tobacco display bans..;
New Zealand More Evidence Needed to Ban Tobacco and Cigarette Displays..;
More evidence - tobacco displays increase the risk of teens smoking..;
Horror photos go on New Zealand cigarette packs..;
Country to Eliminate Smoking - The South Pacific nation of Niue;
Ireland to ban tobacco displays..;
Smokefree NZ within 10 years..;
By law, oral snuff cannot (but nasal snuff is allowed) be sold in New Zealand and can be imported only for personal use..