Smoking: Majority of NZers want sales banned
The majority of New Zealanders support an end to commercial tobacco sales by 2020, a UMR Research survey has found.
You can guess who commissioned this survey.
ASH spokesman Michael Colhoun said the results released today showed the public believed "enough is enough" and it was time for strong action to be taken on tobacco.
"The momentum has been built up over the past year, including the tobacco excise increase and I think we've reached a tipping point," said Mr Colhoun.
Now then. It is possible that the majority of New Zealanders do want smoking banned in the next 9 and a half years (although the comments to this article suggest that perhaps they don't). Admittedly, it would make New Zealand rather unusual since every survey since the 1960s has shown that only 30% or so of the population harbour such prohibitionist thoughts.
But even if there is now a Kiwi majority, I'm not convinced that this question is sufficiently robust to separate the hardcore from the merely confused:
The survey, for anti-smoking group Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), asked 750 respondents if they agreed or disagreed that "New Zealand should be a completely Smokefree nation by 2020. This means smoked tobacco would not be widely available for sale."
Fifty-nine percent of respondents "agreed" or "strongly agreed" with the statement, ASH said.
"Tobacco would not be widely available for sale"? What the hell does this mean? It wouldn't be widely available in playgrounds? It wouldn't be widely available in tobacconists? And didn't New Zealand become a 'smokefree nation' when it brought a smoking ban in back in 2004? Weren't they told, like we Brits were, that that was what 'going smokefree' meant?
To ASH, it seems, "not widely available" means completely illegal and "smokefree" means banning the sale, purchase and consumption of smoked tobacco. So if that's what they mean—and if that's how they're going to spin it in a press release—why don't they ask people if they want tobacco to be completely illegal? Could it be because they wouldn't get quite the same answer?
These people are deadly serious.
Mr Colhoun says while the crackdown on tobacco will be heavy; people who wish to grow their own tobacco can continue to do so.
“At the moment you can grow up to 15kg a year for personal use; people who want to put tobacco plants in their backyard – they can do that and we’ll never end that,” he says.
Of course not. Why, that would be excessive.
So there you have it—a cast-iron guarantee from ASH (New Zealand) who, 25 years ago, were calling for a smoking ban on domestic flights. Not on international flights obviously. Or in bars and restaurants. That would have been excessive.