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Investigation After Students Sought For Cigarette Testing

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Investigation After Students Sought For Cigarette Testing

Wellington, Jan 27 NZPA - The Ministry of Health has launched an investigation after a tobacco company attempted to recruit Christchurch students to test cigarettes.

The Student Job Search advertisement sought 15 students between 19 and 29-years-old to test a brand of cigarettes -- understood to be Benson and Hedges -- and provide feedback,The Press reported.

A ministry spokeswoman said the local smokefree enforcement officer would investigate any possible legal issues raised by the trial.

"We are concerned by any activity that seeks to undermine the efforts, and the gains made so far, to further reduce the prevalence of smoking in New Zealand, particularly amongst young people.

"The Ministry of Health aims to make smoking less appealing to young people, and this product test undermines that objective."

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) director Ben Youdan said tertiary students were particularly vulnerable group.

"The tobacco industry is flashing the cash to entice them into 'research' that will extract the secrets of exploiting this vulnerability. This is yet another example of tobacco companies deliberately targeting young people."

"Tobacco companies, of course, claim they do not do this, but paying university students to market-test their brands shows how important young people are to their business."

The students were being recruited for market research company Colmar Brunton which said the company had "strict guidelines" to ensure consumer research recruitment was limited to existing smokers aged over 18.

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