25 years of tobacco control success: ASH appoints new director to head future challenges
Thursday 17 May 2007, 3:02PM By
This year marks 25 years of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) NZ, the group dedicated to reducing/fighting the death toll of tobacco in New Zealand.
Smokefree Bars are a thing of the past, tobacco advertising is banned and smoking rates are slowly on there way down.
Despite this, tobacco is still the number one cause of premature death in New Zealand. ASH NZ has appointed a new director to take on fresh challenges.
Ben Youdan takes over from Becky Freeman who has moved on to tobacco control work in Australia.
Ben Youdan comes to ASHNZ from the UK where he was Chief Executive of the charity Ã¢â‚¬ËœNo Smoking DayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ an organisation dedicated to helping smokers who want to stop. Ben has worked internationally as part of the European Network on Tobacco Control and supported the setting up of No Smoking Day campaigns in Europe and New Zealand.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“New Zealand has an excellent track record in tackling tobacco, but thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s still plenty we need to get done,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Mr Youdan.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Tobacco is taking the lives of 5000 New Zealanders every year. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s like 2 jumbo jets full of passengers crashing every week. It is totally unacceptable that this level of tragedy continues when we have the power to prevent these deathsÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Mr Youdan also believes that New Zealand needs to remove point of sale displays and put them under the counter so itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s out of sight, and hence out of mind, as soon as possible.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The tobacco industry has had a grip on New Zealanders for far too long. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a priority to get rid of their final strangleholds such as retail advertising, branding and the fact that something so deadly is almost totally unregulatedÃ¢â‚¬Â.
ASH NZ Was set up by concerned health professionals in 1982, ASH NZ works to increase awareness of tobacco and the industry that produces the product, advocate for policies that help people quit smoking, and to improve the health of all New Zealanders by reducing tobacco use.