Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia is shocked that a tobacco company would claim ‘it is not hard to quit smoking’.
The statement was made by the head of a major international tobacco company at its annual shareholder meeting.
“Make no mistake tobacco is a highly addictive substance that is claiming the lives of approximately 5000 New Zealanders every year and that alone should horrify tobacco companies.
“Tobacco casts a long shadow of death and disease that has touched almost every household in New Zealand,” says Mrs Turia.
“I have heard first hand how hard it is for people to give up smoking and that for some people it is much harder to kick the smoking habit than any other drugs.
“Tobacco companies should stop trying to convince us that tobacco is not harmful and easy to quit because if they really believed that they would stop adding substances that make cigarettes even more addictive.”
Mrs Turia recently led a New Zealand delegation to the First Global Ministerial Conference on Healthy Lifestyles and Non-communicable Diseases in Russia.
“It was clear from all participating countries and the World Health Organisation executive that smoking is considered to be one of the most serious health issues confronting individuals and families.
“It was pleasing to see so many countries focused on addressing the issue with New Zealand committed to the goal of a tobacco free Aotearoa by 2025 and the WHO member states proposing 2040 as a goal.
“This Government is committed to reducing tobacco related harms and the massive health inequalities that smoking brings.
“The health of our families, whanau and community is paramount and we need to do everything we can to ensure their economic wellbeing into the future,” says Mrs Turia.