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Tightening the rules on who sells tobacco could reduce smoking, new research shows

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Tighter tobacco measures could lead to a 50% reduction in stores selling cigarettes by 2032, a new study has found.

New research from Otago University has predicted that if the government prevented new retail outlets from selling tobacco, while allowing existing outlets to sell tobacco until closure, tobacco outlets could halve over the next 15 years.

Mihi Blair, General Manager, Tobacco Control Advocacy Service from Hāpai Te Hauora says that healthy, safe environments in which we live and breath is a birth right for Māori. "We are more than our bodies; we see ourselves through the relationships we share with others and with our land. Creating tobacco-free communities will therefore improve our physical health, our mental health and strengthen our relationships we share."

This study finding is supported by previous research which has showed that reducing tobacco availability makes it less likely rangatahi will take up smoking, and empowers those who quit to stay smoke-free.

One of the study’s authors, Dr Louise Marsh, says achieving this reduction would likely help lower smoking prevalence and health inequities. "This approach would not achieve New Zealand’s endgame goal of reducing tobacco availability to minimal levels by 2025, nor the sector’s target of a 95% reduction in outlet density by 2022, but would nonetheless result in a significant advancement from the status quo," Dr Marsh says.

Despite no action plan since the 2011 Smokefree 2025 announcement, Mihi Blair says starting to build a relationship with Associate Minister of Health, Jenny Salesa, has instilled hope for momentum with the Smokefree 2025 goal: "We recently met with Ms Salesa, who assured us of a shared commitment to the Smokefree 2025. Tightening the rules on who sells tobacco could be a great first step".

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