“For a city with some of the highest youth smoking rates in New Zealand it is disappointing to see an international tobacco company investing in a two year upgrade to increase its capacity to manufacture cigarettes,” said Dr Jan Pearson of the Cancer Society.
The Health Promotion Manager’s reaction is a response to the news that Imperial Tobacco has invested over $45m in expanding their factory in Petone. It is proposed that an additional four billion cigarettes for export to Australia will be manufactured at the plant.
“Those four billion cigarettes will have to be the most unpopular and unwelcome Kiwi import to Australia.
“The argument that they are creating 50 extra jobs here doesn’t wash with the Cancer Society. Our answer is every year in New Zealand the loss of 5,000 lives can be attributed to smoking.
“The increase in production will supply around 100,000 Australian smokers per year - 20 percent will die a cancer-related death.
‘This flies in the face of the world-wide move to decrease smoking rates, especially amongst young people. In New Zealand we have a commitment to a Smokefree New Zealand by 2025 and Councils all over the country are playing a major part in creating Smokefree parks, playing fields and other outdoor areas.
“So this expansion is not about bringing benefit to New Zealand. There is no doubt Imperial Tobacco will use the job creation argument as an excuse to paint themselves as a good corporate citizen and to argue against future tobacco regulation that will save lives.”
“The best way tobacco companies can contribute to the economy is to stop selling their products.”