15 Mar 2011

Government adopts smoke-free by 2025 aim

9:52 am on 15 March 2011

The Government has confirmed it will aim to eliminate smoking from New Zealand by 2025.

After holding an inquiry into tobacco, the Maori Affairs parliamentary select committee last year recommended New Zealand halve tobacco consumption by 2015 and to become a smoke-free nation within another decade.

Associate Minister of Health Tariana Turia presented the Government's full response to the committee's report to Parliament on Monday.

Actions towards eliminating smoking include further restrictions on the promotion, packaging and display of tobacco products, requiring more information to be displayed about tobacco additives, and possible moves to restrict the importation of tobacco.

The response says smoking will not be banned in 2025, but smokers should be reduced to just a few percent of the population.

Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia says she wanted a ban on smoking, but understands the need to give shops time to move their businesses away from cigarette revenue.

Association of Community Retailers spokesman Richard Green says he doesn't expect the policy to succeed. Mr Green says tobacco revenue is worth more than $1.5 billion dollars to the Government in taxes.