January 12, 2016
Action lacking on Smokefree 2025 goal
There’s too much smoke, not enough action
That’s the conclusion of tobacco researchers and public health advocates who have assessed what’s been done since the Government endorsed the goal of making New Zealand smoke free by 2025.
The goal was a recommendation of the Maori Affairs Select Committee’s 2010 report on tobacco-related harm, and a review of the other 41 recommendations is published in the latest New Zealand Medical Journal.
“Only eight out of 42 recommendations have been fully implemented and we believe the failure to complete or adequately advance the remaining 34 recommendations is hindering progress towards the Smokefree 2025 goal, particularly for Maori,” the review says.
Maori smoking rates have barely changed since 2011, with more than a third still smoking daily.
Co-author and Te Ao Hurihuri director Shane Kawenata Bradbrook says the select committee exposed the tobacco industry to the full glare of political and public scrutiny,“Yet five years on, and despite cross-party political and very high public support for stronger tobacco control measures, progress has been glacial. Thousands of people have continued to be killed by smoking, and many children have become addicted to smoking," he says.
The authors say key missed opportunities include a lack of progress on:
– introduction of standardised packaging for tobacco products;
– implementation of a comprehensive Government strategy and action plan to achieve Smokefree 2025;
– reducing availability and supply of tobacco;
– comprehensive and effective use of mass media including targeted mass media campaigns, in particular for MaÌ„ori and pregnant women
– extension of smokefree environments, in particular smokefree cars carrying children;
– further disclosure of product additives, and the regulation of nicotine and additives.
Professor Chris Cunningham, from Massey University’s Research Centre for Maori Health and Development says Maori communities strongly supported these measures during the select committee process.
University of Otago of Wellington’s Professor Richard Edwards said the business as usual approach will not achieve the Smokefree 2025 goal.
“Unless decisive steps are taken to introduce best practice measures, the interim target of halving Maori and Pacific daily smoking prevalence to 19 percent and 12 percent respectively by 2018 will be missed by a substantial margin,” Professor Edwards says.
“Not only is the government failing to take action needed to accelerate smoking decline, but spending on key measures such as mass media advertising actually reduced after the Government adopted the 2025 goal,” says Edwards.
Copyright © 2016, UMA Broadcasting Ltd: www.waateanews.com