March 16, 2016
Shaming of smokers not effective
Maori tobacco control advocate Marewa Glover says it's time to stop the top down punitive approach to getting Maori to stop smoking.
After 15 years doing health research at Auckland University, Dr Glover is moving to a teaching role at Massey University where she can train up the next generation of Maori public health workers.
She says the Maori smoking prevalence hasn't gone down despite a decade of tax increases, advertising and cessation programmes.
Dr Glover says the current public health approach is to incite hate and shame.
"We don't want our pregnant mums smoking, but if they are out on the street smoking, it's not ok for people to walk up and abuse them openly in public or anwhere and that is now what's happening, it's open slather. You can be as mean and nasty as you like to anyone who smokes. That is the message promoted and supported by public health in this country," she says.
Her research shows Maori ways that combine passion, compassion and care can work, as can the use of electronic cigarettes in the transition.
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