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Source: Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand

The Thoracic Society is saddened by the repeal of New Zealand’s world-leading smokefree legislation. Passed under urgency, the New Zealand public and healthcare experts alike were not given due process on the repeal of all three critical components to the widely supported Smokefree legislation.

“Sadly, it is New Zealanders that will pay the price,” says TSANZ New Zealand President, Dr Paul Dawkins – an Auckland-based Respiratory Physician and Senior Lecturer in Medicine who specialises in lung cancer. “As clinical professionals, we are disappointed that the government has repealed this suite of measures that was going to make such a difference to the health of New Zealanders in the years ahead, “shared Dr Dawkins. “Modelling has suggested that these legislative changes were going to save around 5,000 Kiwi lives per year and significantly narrow the equity gap for our Māori population.” Dr Dawkins continues. “We ask the government to work with health workers since we share the aim of keeping New Zealanders healthy. That is something I think we can all agree on.”

“TSANZ is committed to working with the Government, with the Ministry of Health, and Health New Zealand – Te Whatu Ora to keep Kiwi lungs strong and healthy for full and active lives,” TSANZ CEO, Vincent So adds. “We know lungs better than most, and we see patients daily suffering from the devastating impacts of smoking and vaping,” shares Dr Dawkins. “That’s why we were such strong advocates for the now repealed smokefree legislation.”

“Going forward, it is important that the Government partners with practitioners like us who work in healthcare settings every day so that Kiwis will have a chance at the healthy lives they deserve,” emphasises Dr Dawkins. “We are asking the Government to partner with the health workforce so we can get this right.”