Health promoters are telling smokers to think about the impact their habit has on their family as an incentive to kick the habit this year.
The New Zealand World Smokefree Day message “it’s about whānau”, centres round protecting future generations by not exposing them to second-hand smoke or passing dangerous habits on to them.
Internationally, World Smokefree Day is known as World No Tobacco Day, and is celebrated annually on 31 May. The global initiative aims to raise awareness around the health burden of smoking and reducing exposure to second-hand smoke especially to children.
The day is also aimed at non-smokers to encourage and support whānau to quit smoking. The protection of children and future generations is central to the smoke free kaupapa.
Increasing tobacco tax and banning the display of cigarettes at retailers have proven successful in lowering the rates of smokers in New Zealand. Since 2010, the proportion of people smoking in New Zealand has fallen to a record low 17 percent. A total drop of 23 per cent over that period.
A number of cafes and restaurants around the country are already smoke free and hope that others will follow. The government has promised to introduce plain packaging into New Zealand and health promoters are targeting smoking in cars as the next area of focus with the goal of achieving Smokefree 2025.
Cancer Society of New Zealand’s Medical Director Chris Jackson says as the leading cause of lung cancer, smoking needs to be a major health focus.
“Smoking is the most important preventable cause of cancer. If we are going to meet the Smokefree 2025 target, we are going to have to pick up the pace of helping kiwis quit.”
In New Zealand, lung cancer accounts for 18.9 per cent of all deaths from cancer, making it the leading cause of cancer-related deaths – smoking being the leading cause of lung cancer.
Australia already has plain packaging in place and the UK introduced the law this month.
Plain packaging aims to reduce the uptake of smoking by young people.
Plain Packs information
For information or advice on quitting, contact Quitline on 0800 778 778 or www.quit.org.nz