October 07, 2015
Tobacco control steps awaiting action
A Maori anti-smoking advocate is welcoming the increased number of Maori non-smokers, but says more work is needed.
According the data from the latest census, the number of Maori smokers decreased by more than 9 percent between 2006 and 2013 to now stand a 32.7 percent, but there is wide variation among iwi.
Ngai Tahu, Ngati Maniapoto and Nga Puhi have the smallest percentage of regular smokers, but the figure for Ngai Tuhoe is 38.2 percent.
Zoe Martin-Hawke, the manager of National Maori Tobacco Control Leadership, says while cessation and stop smoking services are having an effect, more needs to be done about where and how tobacco products are sold.
"Making sure that we’ve got those underage sales and the single ciggie kaupapa sorted, we don’t want our young people to be able to access that. Plain packaging, there are a whole lot of strategies just waiting to happen in New Zealand and we are looking for that to be actioned because we know it is going to even further drop our smoking rates for young people. They are not even going to take it up, it is going to be a thing of the past," she says.
Zoe Martin-Hawke says adoption of the tobacco control kaupapa by groups like the Whanau Ora Iwi Leaders Forum means the message is getting out to whanau at a level government agencies cannot reach.
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