New figures from two separate surveys showing smoking among adults at a “record low”, and a downturn in youth smoking, are to be applauded.
According to the Herald report, “smoking kills about 5000 people a year, including nearly 400 deaths attributed to secondhand smoke.” Then there’s the often delibiltating disease. And as The Standard notes, these drops are good news for our quality of life (as any Galbraiths regular can tell you) and productivity too.
Helen Clark has championed many of the legal initiatives that have led to this result. She deserves plaudits, and lots of them.
Former principal medical officer in the Dept of Health, Dr Murray Laugensen, thinks that a likely cause is that “the psychological effect of the smokefree workplaces legislation, which came into effect at the end of 2004, has brought about a change in public attitudes to smoking.”
Of course, such initiatives proved too easy a target for political opponents trading in the rhetoric of the “nanny state” and other right-wing shibboleths, and they denounced such initiatives as infringing important freedoms.