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Philip Morris visit stirs controversy

An anti-smoking campaigner is fuming about a council-owned facility hosting a conference for a global tobacco giant in Queenstown.

The Queenstown Events Centre this week hosted about 250 delegates from the Asian division of Philip Morris, known for cigarette brands such as Marlboro and Virginia Slims.

It is believed attendees included regional presidents from around Asia.

Leading anti-smoking campaigner Trish Fraser, of Glenorchy, said: “I’m certainly not that keen about the tobacco industry having conferences in Queenstown, full stop.

“If Philip Morris was prepared to stop selling cigarettes and only sell e-cigarettes, I think they’d be very welcome in Queenstown, but they continue to sell cigarettes, which are, of course, very harmful.”

Ms Fraser believed the Queenstown Lakes District Council should discuss whether it should open its venues to cigarette companies.

“It would be good to see the council take a stand.

“What would the rest of the ratepayers think? Maybe they should be asked.”

Asked her view, councillor Alexa Forbes said: “Personally, it’s not a good look”, but she would only take the issue further if she had strong community feedback.

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