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New Zealand defense force aims to be world's first smoke-free military

Staff Writer |
New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) on Wednesday announced its plan to be the world's first smoke-free military by 2020.

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The announcement call was made at an event in the Parliament to mark the World Smokefree Day, which was hosted by ASH, a charity group calling on policy makers and communities to contribute to a smoke-free New Zealand.

NZDF Commander Karen Ward said that by undertaking a conscious drive to create a smoke-free force, the NZDF will also be "setting a benchmark for other defence forces by becoming the first military to become smoke-free."

The NZDF is planning several initiatives to help achieve the goal of becoming smoke free by 2020, including banning the sale of cigarettes on camps and bases and making NZDF housing smoke free.

It will also evolve camps and bases into smoke-free environments, and continue to promote and support smoking cessation and the benefits of a smoke-free NZDF, according to its release.

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in New Zealand - responsible for a quarter of all cancer deaths, but second-hand smoke is also a serious and often health risk, especially for children, said Wagner.

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