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Tobacco Inquiry Report Welcomed - Final Nails For The Tobacco Industry Coffin

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Tobacco Inquiry Report Welcomed - Final Nails For The Tobacco Industry Coffin

"This historic process was always about holding the Tobacco Industry accountable for all the deaths and the illness they cause within the Māori community." said Shane Kawenata Bradbrook - Spokesperson for Te Reo Marama. "The leadership shown by the Committee should be commended for acknowledging the pain, suffering and death that tobacco has placed on the Maori community.

The Maori Affairs Select Committee has gauged correctly from hundreds of submissions that Maori, who disproportionately suffer the most, clearly see tobacco as a burden that does not meet Maori aspirations at whanau, hapu or iwi levels. Throughout the submissions process Maori constantly stated that there were no benefits from tobacco.

Obviously tobacco also impacts on non-Maori who are also affected by this addictive and deadly product. Smoking is an equal opportunity killer." stated Mr Bradbrook. "The people who submitted called for a ban on tobacco but while short of that it is a strong response."

The focus on kaupapa Maori approaches to smoking is a much needed innovation that allows Maori to pro-actively engage within a cultural framework that moves from auahi kore (smokefree) to tupeka kore (tobacco-free). Kaupapa Tupeka Kore is fundamentally about introducing and fortifying a belief that tobacco has no place within the Maori cultural beliefs or practices.

"Whanau and Iwi within the submissions process asked for just such a framework that would utilise tikanga as a tool to embed practices that removed tobacco use. Ultimately it is about Maori taking responsibility and accepting that more can be achieved in this fight against tobacco addiction. There is only so much that patches or campaigns can achieve." said Mr Bradbrook.

The content of the Report clearly outlines measures that will provide the ability for this country to be rid of tobacco well before 2025. The Reports focus is to clearly regulate what is an unregulated industry. Measures such as plain packaging, removal of displays, annual tax increases, and increasing smokefree environments are useful initiatives in further denormalising tobacco. The recommendations would place New Zealand internationally as the premier country in the fight against the global tobacco epidemic.

"Political courage must now be reflected in the strongest legislation and regulation by the Associate Minister of Health Tariana Turia. These recommendations demand a positive response that will curtail the unnecessary deaths of both Maori and Pakeha alike. After decades of free market access to generations of New Zealanders it is simply time for the tobacco industry to be given a use by date." said Mr Bradbrook.

Two innovative recommendations that will place the Industry under immense pressure will be the ability of Government to control additives (designed to make the product palatable) and the reduction of addictive nicotine levels.

"End of the day we must remember this is a product designed to addict and eventually kill over half its users. We are not talking about some benign product that has been innocently placed on the market. These recommendations will make cigarettes virtually unsmokeable without the advanced chemistry that masks the reality of smoking tobacco leaf." said Mr Bradbrook.

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