30 Jan 2010

Survey indicates support for tobacco ban

5:37 am on 30 January 2010

A New Zealand health study suggests there is strong public support for the sale of tobacco to be stopped by 2020.

The research published in the New Zealand Medical Journal has the results of a survey 1600 people, a quarter of whom were smokers.

One of the study's authors, George Thomson from the University of Otago, says half of those surveyed agreed that cigarettes and tobacco should not be sold in New Zealand in 10 years' time, while 30% disagreed.

The majority also agreed that the number of places selling cigarettes and tobacco should be reduced.

Dr Thomson says the research presents a good opportunity for politicians to think about medium-term and long-term decisions on the sale of tobacco.

Associate minister for health Tariana Turia, a member of the Maori Party, says she is continuing to discuss tax and the banning of tobacco displays with the National Government and is confident that progress will be made this year.

Mrs Turia says the support to stop tobacco sales is staggering and it has given her great confidence for taking urgent action to implement measures to control tobacco.

"I think that we owe it to those people who have experienced death within their families to stop selling a particular substance that we know kills 5000 people year. Why would we continue to allow it to be sold?"

Mrs Turia says she will be pushing to raise the taxes on cigarettes as a step towards the ban.