4 Aug 2009

Call on Government to ban importation of tobacco

4:35 pm on 4 August 2009

Health researchers are calling on the Government to ban the importation of tobacco and to halt to the sale of duty free cigarettes on entry to New Zealand.

The call follows a new University of Otago study that analysed cigarette packets found discarded on New Zealand streets.

More than 3% of the packs were foreign tobacco, amounting to about $36 million in lost tobacco tax for the Government.

The study's lead investigator, Nick Wilson, says if those packets had been New Zealand products, the tax revenue money could have been used to fund campaigns encouraging people to quit smoking.

Dr Wilson says there are about 5000 smoking-related deaths in New Zealand each year and the Government needs to look closely at the issue.