Seventy-two percent of political candidates in Auckland, New Zealand, region say plain cigarette packaging is high priority, with 84% prioritizing ban of flavoring additives, 77% prioritizing limiting tobacco sales to registered retailers, survey finds

AUCKLAND, New Zealand , November 22, 2011 (press release) – Cancer Society Auckland is pleased with the results of a recent candidate survey that shows significant political support for a Smokefree New Zealand.

The Cancer Society asked all political candidates in the Auckland and Northland region to identify which Smokefree measures were a priority for them and what they think needs to be done to achieve a Smokefree New Zealand by 2025.

A high or medium priority for Smokefree measures was received from Labour, Greens, Mana, Maori, NZ First, and United Future. The Act Party sees Smokefree as a low priority and no responses were received from National MPs.

72% of those responding said that plain packaging was a high priority, 84% prioritised the banning of flavouring additives in tobacco products and 77% said that limiting the sale of tobacco to registered retailers was a high priority.

“Over 5000 New Zealanders die every year from smoking related illness. These deaths are preventable and our political leaders must take a stand to make a difference to these statistics” said John Loof, CEO Cancer Society Auckland. “The government has the stated goal of achieving a Smokefree New Zealand by 2025, we applaud this goal but now we have to put a plan in place to achieve it.”

“It is great to see Auckland based candidates feel so strongly about achieving a Smokefree New Zealand, and support plain packaging, which has just been passed into legislation in Australia. We hope that the elected government will work to prioritise a healthier future for our kids and will be committed to implementing steps to achieve a Smokefree New Zealand by 2025.”

About the Cancer Society Auckland:

The Cancer Society is an independent non-government organisation dedicated to reducing the incidence and impact of cancer in the community through support, information, research and health promotion. 1 in 3 New Zealanders will be affected by cancer. Each year approximately 22,000 people are diagnosed with cancer and around 8,000 die as a result of cancer.

Their future – less cancer

Cancer Society Auckland are working with Council, Local Boards and MP’s to achieve the New Zealand government goal to be smokefree by 2025. Smokefree New Zealand will improve the health and wellbeing of our local communities, stop our young people from starting and create an environment that supports people to quit.

Targeting tobacco will have the greatest impact for achieving a future with less cancer.

Key facts
• In New Zealand the age children start to smoke is 14 years and even younger with Maori at 1 years
• 1,400 Auckland children start smoking every year.
• Research has shown that the more children see people smoking, the more likely they are to start
• Creating more Smokefree places in our community where our children go, will help create a society where Smokefree is the 'norm', and also supports the quitting process
• 1 out of 2 smokers will die of smoking related illness
• 5,000 people die from smoking related diseases in New Zealand every year, with approximately 1,700 from Auckland. These deaths are preventable.

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