World urged to follow NZ tobacco lead

The world is being urged to follow New Zealand and set a target year for ending tobacco use.Photo / Thinkstock
The world is being urged to follow New Zealand and set a target year for ending tobacco use.Photo / Thinkstock

International heart experts are urging all countries to follow New Zealand and set a target year for ending tobacco use.

New Zealand, Finland and Scotland have announced target years to reduce their tobacco use to below five per cent.

New Zealand's target is 2025, with Finland following in 2030 and Scotland in 2034.

"There is no hiding from the deadly effects of tobacco on heart health," says World Heart Federation president Professor K Srinath Reddy, a speaker at a Tobacco End Game Congress in New Delhi.

"There are many countries across all incomes making great strides in tobacco control.

"It should be possible for each to bolster their efforts by setting a target year for reducing tobacco use below five per cent."

Reducing and eventually ending tobacco consumption worldwide is a key part of the federation's strategy to reduce premature deaths from cardiovascular disease by 25 per cent by 2025.

Professor Pekka Puska, head of health services in Finland and a former president of the federation, says his country is following Australia's plain packaging lead as part of its plan to end tobacco use.

The country has also introduced large smoke-free zones, increased taxes, reduced availability and strengthened protection of children.

- AAP

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