Removing addictive nicotine from cigarettes will be one step closer with the crucial health measure receiving cross-party support ahead of the Government’s new smokefree bill set to pass its second reading tonight.
The Coalition supports all the Bill’s measures which include: reducing nicotine levels in all cigarettes to very low levels of 0.8 per cent (the average cigarette currently contains 10 per cent); prohibiting the sale of cigarettes to those born after January 1, 2009, and; significantly reducing the number of retailers.
The Coalition also strongly supports the commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and addressing smoking inequities.
Denictonisation is critical for achieving the Government’s Smokefree goal to all but eliminate harm caused by smoking, particularly for Māori and Pasifika where smoking rates are 19.9% and 18.2% respectively, compared to 7.2% for Pākehā.
“For those still struggling to quit, which continues to disproportionately be our wāhine Māori, low nicotine cigarettes will significantly reduce health harms caused by smoking,” Smokefree Expert Panel member Andrew Waa says.
The Bill passed its first reading in July with support from all parties except for ACT.
“I urge politicians across the political spectrum to keep health outcomes front and centre of mind over commercial interests ahead of voting tonight,” Waa says.
The National Party was in full support of denicotinisation.
The Coalition’s Smokefree Expert Panel chair Sally Liggins is encouraged that both major parties are committed to the radical smokefree measures.
“We are hopeful that tonight we bring New Zealand one step closer to ridding tobacco-related harms that continue to rob so many families of their loved ones too soon.”