Wellington: New Zealand should crack down on
the tobacco industry and aim to make the nation smoke free by
2025, a parliamentary committee recommended on Wednesday.
The government should outlaw smoking in cars and public
places, ban tobacco displays in shops and force retailers to
sell cigarettes in plain packaging, the Maori Affairs select
The cross-party committee also said the tobacco industry
should pay for addiction treatment such as nicotine patches
and the government should lift the price of tobacco and reduce
imports of the product.
"By increasing regulations regarding the supply of
tobacco, we believe the government can reduce the death,
illness, and harm tobacco causes in New Zealand society," the
committee`s report said.
The committee set out to examine ways of reducing tobacco
use among Maori, New Zealand`s indigenous people, 45 per cent
of whom smoke, more than twice the national average.
It said smoking quickly embedded itself as part of Maori
culture after tobacco was introduced to New Zealand in the
1800s and Maori women now had one of the highest lung cancer
rates in the world.
It also said smoking-related diseases led to the early
deaths of Maori elders, preventing traditional knowledge from
being passed on.
"(We) consider this loss a tragedy, and are determined to
remove tobacco from our country`s future in order to preserve
Maori culture for younger generations," the report said.
It said smoking was a broader issue of national
significance and called for the government to halve the
smoking rate in the next five years, with the aim of stamping
out the habit altogether by 2025.