by Sonia Hepi-Treanor, Te hā Pūkenga Manaaki / Stop Smoking Navigator
Join the trend - become smokefree
More and more New Zealanders are not smoking or giving up smoking – a very welcome trend! The most recent tobacco-use figures show 84% of New Zealanders do not smoke. That’s 4% more than in 2008, so we are moving towards the Govenment’s goal of a smokefree Aotearoa in 2025.
I believe it’s also great to see so many younger people not taking up smoking. Now, 96% of 15 to 17 year olds are smokefree, which is a marked increase from 84% 10 years earlier. It’s critical we keep encouraging young New Zealanders to stay smokefree.
I’m also very pleased to see more New Zealanders support expanding smokefree environments. A recent health and lifestyle survey showed nearly 94% of us believe smoking in cars with children should be banned. Also, 79% believe smoking should be banned in all outdoor dining and 81% say the same for outdoor public waiting areas. While 84% want smoking banned within five metres of entrances to public buildings.
Local authorities and businesses are taking notice of changing attitudes towards smoking. Increasing numbers of councils are declaring public places, spaces and events to be smokefree, including outdoor eating spaces. More and more businesses are going totally smokefree.
Stopping smoking is really tough, but doing it with our support helps. That can include face-to-face coaching, along with free nicotine replacement therapy. We can create a plan to manage cravings, and strategies to avoid situations where you would usually smoke.
We see from the work we do at Te Piki Oranga, positive action around being smokefree is snowballing, creating an Aotearoa where being smokefree is the normal way of life. Having fewer people who smoke around you, and having the smokefree attitude continuously reinforced, means it’s easier to give up smoking. Crucially, poeple are also less likely to start using tobacco.
May 31 is World Smokefree Day so it’s the ideal time to celebrate our country’s smokefree successes. We can have a smokefree Aotearoa by 2025 if we work together to help our friends, whānau and workmates become smokefree.
For more information about becoming smokefree contact Brenda Chilvers (Wairau/Blenheim) or Sonia Hepi-Treanor (Whakatū/Nelson) on 0800 672 642.