21 Feb 2011

Call for Government to impose tobacco quota

8:46 am on 21 February 2011

A team of health researchers is again calling for the Government to limit the supply of tobacco by imposing an import quota.

Richard Edwards, a professor of public health at the University of Otago, made the comments at the Inaugural International Cancer Symposium in Wellington last week.

Professor Edwards's research team first proposed a quota on tobacco in 2009. He says although New Zealand has progressed somewhat since then, more radical measures are still needed to ensure it is smoke-free by 2025.

He is calling for the Government to reduce the amount of tobacco imported by up to 10% each year, for up to 10 years, and this would be accompanied by an increase in initiatives to help people quit smoking.

Expert praises NZ smoke-free effort

A US nicotine addiction specialist says he is encouraged to see New Zealand's effort towards the aim of being smoke-free environment by 2025.

Richard Hurt, who runs a treatment clinic in the United States, was a keynote speaker at a cancer symposium.

Professor Hurt believes there is a good foundation of experts in New Zealand who are treating nicotine addiction for the serious medical problem it is.

Tobacco companies have been running the game for too long, he says, but governments around the world are making progress and New Zealand gives him hope for a tobacco-free future.