As the largest, single preventable cause of cancer, smoking is a key area of work for the Cancer Society. Tobacco is the only legally available product that kills up to half of its regular users when used recommended. That's around 5,000 New Zealander's lives every year. Tobacco also plays a role in health inequalities in New Zealand. With more smoking seen among low-income groups, Māori and Pacific peoples.
The Cancer Society works with other smokefree organisations to:
- Reduce the harm tobacco causes our communities. We endorse the government's goal of a Smokefree New Zealand by 2025.
- Change policy both nationally, for example plain packaging for cigarettes, and locally, for example Smokefree outdoor dining in Auckland.
- Reduce visibility of smoking in communities, and increase Smokefree environments, for example outdoor areas, cars, homes, community areas and workplaces.
- Protect children and young people from the cues to becoming smokers.
- Support people to quit smoking.
The graph below shows New Zealand Statistics published results from the 2013 census. The data shows a drop in the number of people smoking. However, some ethnicities have a higher percentage of current smokers than others.
This means that, while some ethnicities have a higher percentage of smokers, nationally the numbers of people smoking have dropped from 25 percent in 1995 to 18 percent in 2014 (NZ Health Survey 2014). This is excellent progress towards our goal of less than 5 percent of people in New Zealand smoking by 2025.
There is still much work to be done in order to protect our children from tobacco.
A smokefree New Zealand means:
- our children, and grandchildren, enjoy tobacco-free lives
- less than 5 percent of the population are still smokers
- it will become very difficult to sell tobacco.
Everybody has a role in achieving Smokefree Aotearoa 2025.
As parents, elders or peers:
- talk about being smokefree
- hold smokefree community events
- make yours a smokefree car and home
- ask friends, family and whānau to be smokefree role models, and not smoke around the kids.
If we all work together, whānau, schools, communities, workplaces and organisations, using simple steps, together we can have a Smokefree Aotearoa by 2025.
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