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Misuse of the Official Information Act by the tobacco industry in New Zealand
  1. Grace Wong,
  2. Ben Youdan,
  3. Ron Wong
  1. ASH New Zealand, Auckland, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to Grace Wong, ASH New Zealand, PO Box 99 126, Newmarket, Auckland 1051, New Zealand; grace.wong{at}

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The purpose of the Official Information Act (OIA) in New Zealand is to facilitate the democratic process by promoting the accountability of government.1 Tobacco companies exploit freedom of information acts which make official information publicly available. For example, they disrupted and discredited tobacco control work with information gained from public records requests to the California Department of Health Services in the 1990s.2

We examined all OIA requests to the Ministry of Health (MoH) New Zealand, about tobacco control and smoke-free services from 2005 to August 2009 to determine their origin, content and the charges made for information. Internet searches …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.