New Zealand - more than half of the people want to end tobacco sales by 2020..

May 19, 2010 - More than half of New Zealanders want to see an end to tobacco sales by 2020, the Smokefree Coalition will tell a select committee tomorrow. (New Zealand’s Parliament has only one chamber - the House of Representatives and there is no upper house such as a senate. Select committees work on behalf of the House and report their conclusions to the House. The Māori Affairs Committee considers matters relating to Māori affairs.)

The group will present to the Maori Affairs select committee inquiry into the tobacco industry the findings of a UMR survey showing that 64 percent of New Zealanders supported an end to commercial tobacco sales.

The coalition said today its vision for a tobacco-free country was about reducing demand, not banning smoking. The recent tax increase on tobacco products was an important first step, coalition chairman Professor Robert Beaglehole said. The next steps included further tax increases, banning retail displays, switching to plain packaging and making youth environments smokefree.

The coalition said it would urge the select committee to adopt its Achieving the Vision strategy document to reduce demand for tobacco and regulate its supply by 2020.

A number of health groups, along with British American Tobacco, had also made submissions to the select [Māori Affairs] committee.

Reference: Most Kiwis support end to tobacco sales - Smokefree Coalition, New Zealand Press Association (NZPA), 5/18/2010.

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