December 22, 2015
Booster needed for smokefree campaign
A leading Maori tobacco control advocate says progress on getting New Zealand to a smokefree 2025 has stalled as the government has cut money for advocacy, and more effort is needed.
Boyd Broughton from Action on Smoking and Health says smoking rates have stayed fairly static over the past two years, after steady declines between 2016 and 2013 when a lot of resource was put into smokefree campaigns.
The campaigns were particularly effective with Maori, who are twice as likely to smoke as other New Zealanders.
"Maori had the highest decrease in smoking rates over that time for the ethnicity groups in New Zealand and so what that actually showed was that if you put the effort in they are really responsive so we need to change the point of view of our doctors, our healthcare professionals and anyone who is supporting people to smoke, that when they see a large group of Maori who are smoking, don’t just think it’s no good talking to them," Mr Broughton says.
He says a major step will be a law imposing plain packaging, which is on the cards now Australia has beaten off a challenge by tobacco giant Philip Morris to a similar law.
While plain packaging may help some people give up, its biggest impact will be that it denies the industry an arsenal of tricks it uses to get young people hooked.
FULL INTERVIEW: BOYD BROUGHTON
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