Anti-smoking proposals

The Herald reports:

Taxpayer-funded health officials are calling on the Government to increase tobacco tax and ban in many outdoor public areas such as beaches.

The call from the Auckland Regional Public Health Service for a range of tough measures comes in its submission to the Maori affairs select committee’s forthcoming inquiry into the tobacco industry and the effects of tobacco use on Maori. …

The Auckland service wants the law banning indoor smoking at workplaces extended to playgrounds, outdoor eating areas, beaches, the area outside buildings, cars when a child aged less than 16 is present, public transport stops and pedestrian malls.

I think there is a case for restrictions in playgrounds and cars with children in them. I accept a role to protect kids. But decisions on pedestrian malls and building exteriors are best left to the owners of those places.

The recommendations:

* Ban smokers from outdoor public areas such as beaches.

I’m not sure why beaches should having smoking ban. There is no risk of passive smoking on beaches.

* Increase tobacco tax by 5 per cent plus inflation per year.

Fairly relaxed over that.

* Dedicate portion of tobacco tax take to tobacco control and quit-smoking services.

Seems sensible.

* Ban tobacco vending machines.

Now while it is a legal product.

* License tobacco retailers.

Why?

* Compel tobacco firms to disclose product specifications and marketing strategies.

Product specifications yes, marketing strategies no.