14 Aug 2010

Sharples supports ending of tobacco sales by 2020

6:20 am on 14 August 2010

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples has put his weight behind a call from Otago University researchers for tobacco sales to be phased out by 2020.

In a paper published in the New Zealand Medical Journal, a team led by Dr Tony Blakely said ending tobacco sales in 10 years would add five years to Maori life expectancy by 2040.

With almost 50% of Maori now smoking, Dr Sharples says it's the most effective way to reduce mortality rates.

He told Waatea News that while the current anti-smoking battle is focused on price rises and banning displays, ways must be found to make smoking unacceptable in Maori society.