World Smokefree Day

By Tema Hemi

Today marks World Smokefree Day.  Recently, the Health and Māori Affairs select committees said openly that the goal of reaching a smokefree NZ by 2025 was impossible based on current statistics. 

The target to lower the percentage of smokers to 5% by 2025 is looking more like a pipe-dream.

The government has already implemented strategies to lower the smoking rate but it's just not working.

Henare also says, "Some of my colleagues say we should raise taxes for cigarettes and we've done that but our people continue to smoke."

The Māori Affairs and Ministry of Health select committees have encouraged the government to pass legislation to make illegal the sale of cigarettes by 2025.

CEO of Hāpai Te Hauora Lance Howard says, "Just this morning Minister Salesa announced that an action plan to start addressing the issue of becoming smoke-free. At the moment there's not a specific action plan out there developed by the government."

What strategic plan is in place to accomplish a smokefree NZ by 2025?

Howard says, "There is actually one in place that my organisation and a number of other ones came together collectively to say this is what we actually need to do".

With over 8,000 outlets selling cigarettes nationwide, most make more than 50% of their sales through selling cigarettes.

"Well the biggest concern is the data, as of today 35% of all Māori smoke," says Howard.

The likelihood of a smokefree New Zealand in seven years is looking less likely without a law change.