The associations assert that smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in New Zealand and can affect the well-being of Aboriginal communities with high smoking rates.
Photo: EFE – ADI WEDA
Health associations criticized New Zealand’s new conservative government on Monday for plans to replace an ambitious law that would have phased out tobacco sales starting in 2027. Approved in 2022 and establishes that people born in 2009 will never be able to buy tobacco in the country, with the aim of financing tax cuts.
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“Our communities have unequivocally spoken out against the control that tobacco companies have over their well-being and the future of their whanau (family, in Māori). This move ignores these community voices to raise revenue for tax cuts for the rich in Aotearoa (New Zealand),” said Māori health association Hāpai. Te Hauora condemns.
It describes the plan as a “disproportionate blow to the health and well-being of all New Zealanders”, highlighting that Aboriginal people have the highest rates of smoking and related diseases, it pointed out in a report.
According to official data, smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths in New Zealand, and public health models have suggested that the aforementioned anti-smoking law would save 5,000 lives a year.
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In December 2022, the Labor government, which lost power in the October elections, was able to approve a rule that people born on or after January 1, 2009 – and turning 18 in 2027 – could never buy tobacco. By law in New Zealand.
The legislation was passed despite opposition from the National Party and the liberal right-wing Consumers and Taxpayers Association (ACT), then in opposition.
However, after recent elections, the Nationals – who won the referendum – formed a three-way coalition with ACT and the nationalist New Zealand First Party to form a government.
On Saturday, new finance minister Nicola Willis said before taking office that the coalition government would scrap ambitious anti-smoking legislation to help fund tax cuts promised during the election.
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“The idea that tax cuts are going to be paid for by people who continue to smoke is absolutely shocking,” Smoke-Free New Zealand president Robert Beaglehole told the Pacific Media Network.
By 2022, the Ministry of Health predicts that treating various types of cancer will save the health system 5 billion New Zealand dollars (about 3,042 million dollars or 2,778 million euros) over the next 20 years. Tobacco-related heart attack and disability.
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