April 19, 2017
Too much shame and blame in smoking battle
A Maori tobacco researcher says stigmatising smokers has gone too far and it is failing to convince the remaining smokers to give up.
Dr Marewa Glover was part of an international study that found high levels of smoking by indigenous women during pregnancy in high income countries.
New Zealand has brought the overall smoking rate down to 15 percent but around 40 percent of Maori women still smoke.
Dr Glover says public health policy is based on stigmatising and marginalising smokers and it has become state sanctioned bullying of women who are already marginalised.
"Women on the street are abused if they are seen to smoke and are pregnant so they have to hide it now. In fact lots of smokers are hiding the fact they smoke and then they don't go for care, because what is going to happen when they go for care?" she says.
Dr Glover says the attitudes around smoking means safer options like electronic cigarettes aren’t getting the research or support they need.
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