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‘New Zealand must advocate for tobacco harm reduction at COP10’

The Taxpayers’ Union is calling on New Zealand’s delegates to the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) to oppose dangerous calls for further regulation and taxation of reduced-harm alternatives to smoking.

Speaking from Panama, where the Tenth Session Conference of Parties (COP10) to the WHO FCTC is being held, Taxpayers’ Union Campaigns Manager and spokesperson for Lifestyle Economics, Connor Molloy, said:

“New Zealand is a success story in terms of getting smokers to quit. A big part of that is allowing consumers to choose less harmful alternatives to smoking.

“New Zealand’s delegates must oppose all attempts by the WHO to equate the harm of traditional cigarettes with that of alternatives that are scientifically proven to be safer such as vaping, heated tobacco and snus. The delegates must be commended for acknowledging the role that evidence-based harm reduction measures have played in reducing New Zealand’s smoking rates, but we are concerned they are not going further to publicly challenge the WHO’s dangerous opposition to reduced-harm products.

“Supporting, or accepting, WHO proposed rules to restrict reduced-harm alternatives would be a step backwards. Ironically, these proposals would play into the hands of “Big Tobacco” and are totally counter to New Zealand’s Smokefree 2025 aspiration.

“The only reason the New Zealand Government would go along with the WHO’s proposals is to keep more people smoking and collect more tax. That is morally wrong.”


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