New Zealand hopes to eradicate smoking by 2025

New Zealand is aiming to eradicate smoking across the country by 2025, and health researchers have said the government needs to set a date to end commercial sale of tobacco in order to achieve that goal.

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In an article published in the international Tobacco Control journal, researchers from the University of Otago said "clear goals" and "detailed planning" were critical to achieve the government's aim.

"Research indicates that incremental efforts are not enough to reduce smoking to near zero by 2025. This is the case in New Zealand, where smoking has declined very slowly in the last two decades, and over 20 percent of the adult population still smokes," Xinhua quoted lead author George Thomson as saying in a statement.

The pre-conditions for a "realistic tobacco end-game plan" included banning donations to political parties by tobacco companies and their allies and agents. "Any preventable deaths, let alone the current 5,000 a year, should be stopped. Definite endgame plans are needed now to ensure that," he said.

The researcher added that the government needs to ensure that trade and other treaties do not interfere with the plan to end tobacco consumption. New Zealand has a relatively high adult smoking rate at 20 percent compared to under 12 percent in California, US, and under 17 percent in Canada.

A 2008 survey of 1,600 New Zealanders aged 15 and above conducted by the National Research Bureau showed that over 49 percent agreed that cigarettes and tobacco should not be sold in the country in 10 years time.

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