Researchers at New Zealand’s University of Otago have found that in order to achieve the Government’s 2025 Smokefree goal, five times as many Māori citizens would need to be quitting per year and twice as many non-Māori citizens.
This research which was published last week in the New Zealand Medical Journal, indicated that in order to reach the desired goal, 17,000 more people need to be quitting smoking per year. Professor Nick Wilson from the university’s Department of Public Health estimated that current smoking cessation services are not generating enough long term quitters.
“The Ministry and the health sector will really have to massively increase cessation support alongside other things like running mass media campaigns,” said Wilson, “We are making progress but it is slow, especially for Māori.”
Current stop-smoking measures are not enough
The professor pointed out that while 2018 has brought improvements in local smoking rates thanks to measures such as plain packaging and further tax increases, these were simply not enough. “Our concern was that the other options are not really being discussed so if you really want to get to Smokefree 2025 you need to know what the size of the gap is and what we’re doing already to get us there,” said Wilson, adding, “The government doesn’t even have a published plan for getting to 2025 … you can’t get anywhere without a plan.”
In March 2017, associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner had said that New Zealand was adopting a low risk approach and that in line with this e-cigarettes would be legalized. After over a year from the announcement, New Zealand lawmakers have finally released vaping rules that would see e-cigarettes regulated more like tobacco products, rather than the harm reduction and smoking cessation tools that they are.
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