Gov't campaign tackling inequity in smoking declines

By Will Trafford

The government will increase spending on information campaigns designed to lower smoking among Māori.

The current ‘Quitstrong’ smoking cessation campaign will end in June 2022, the Ministry of Health says it’s partnering with Māori communications agency Native Voice, Bright Sunday and global ad agency VMLY&R to deliver a campaign across multiple analogue and digital platforms to aid in the government’s vision for a smoke-free Aotearoa.

Smoking rates in Aotearoa have continued to drop as part of the Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 Action Plan, but inequities between ethnicities persist according to the Ministry, so the campaign will focus on addressing the imbalance.

“The new campaign start in the second half of 2022. It will focus on priority audiences, young Māori women (18–30 years), Māori, Pacific peoples and smokers with mental health needs.” The Ministry said in a statement.

24% of Māori women and 20.5% of Māori men smoke daily, and 15.9% Pacific women and 16.9% of Pacific men are daily smokers, 9.4 percent of Aotearoa’s overall population smoke daily.

The Ministry says its campaign will go hand in hand with ‘other health promotion work’, including a campaign to prevent youth from vaping, including community action, Smokefree Generation and World Smokefree May.

A report earlier this month revealed while rangatahi smoking rates are dropping, vaping was on the rise with young people.