14 October 2011
The scientific session on tobacco cessation at the World Medical Association General Assembly in Montevideo Uruguay has praised New Zealand's "end-game thinking" approach to tobacco cessation.
Dr Richard D. Hurt, founder and director of the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Centre said that while most counties focus on reduction in tobacco consumption New Zealand has a vision of a smokefree society and has the courage and political will to achieve this.
New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) Chair Dr Paul Ockelford, who is attending the Assembly, says that while New Zealand has been fortunate that successive governments, supported by health professionals and the wider community, have been proactive in tackling this public health issue, we have a moral and social responsibility to continue the momentum towards a smokefree New Zealand.
The NZMA position statement on tobacco control outlines the key steps that need to be taken and aligns strongly with today's recommendations by international experts. These include plain packaging and graphic warnings to replace all brand imagery and a call for the Government to extend the smokefree environment legislation to cover all locations where young people are present.
Action to make it more difficult for minors to obtain cigarettes is also recommended with targeted research into smoking cessation to ensure that at risk population groups, such as Maori and Pacific Peoples, are reached.
"New Zealanders can be proud of our aspiration to be smokefree by 2025. It is a testament to this commitment and our progress to date that we are recognised in this way by the international community."