National Māori Public Health organisation Hāpai Te Hauora applaud Hon Dr Ayesha Verrall and the team behind the legislative work taken to get the Smokefree Bill introduced today.
Hāpai Te Hauora CEO Selah Hart says, today marks another important step from talking to more action on all aspects of the Auahi Kore Aotearoa Mahere Rautaki 2025, the Smokefree 2025 Action Plan. Legislating the key focus areas of the action plan will ensure that positive and long overdue changes in our communities can be implemented giving the Action Plan a decent chance of success. "
"What this means is that we make smoking less available by having less places to buy cigarettes; creating a Smokefree generation by making it illegal for children born on or after 1 January 2009 to ever purchase cigarettes; and less addictive, which means significantly lowering nicotine levels," says Hart.
Hāpai Te Hauora were appointed to carry out consultation with Māori and Pasifika whānau, aiga, anau and kainga on the focus areas of the action plan.
"It is really heart-warming to see the bill being introduced only 6 months after it was launched and not long after the consultations we held, so our communities are seeing their contributions put to some good use. " says Hart
"I acknowledge the late Dame Aroha Reriti-Crofts and fellow community champions from the Ōtautahi Māori Women’s Welfare League who stood strongly for no more tobacco sales in NZ, at the "Whakatakanga Tupeka Kore - Mission Tobacco Free" hui held at He Waka Tapu the day before the country went into a lockdown.
They say, like many others we have heard from who say they cannot ‘wait another day’ , they want tobacco out of their communities, this Smokefree Bill is a response to their wero!"
Significantly lowering nicotine levels will reduce the addictiveness and make smoked tobacco less appealing.
Hart says research shows that lower nicotine levels make cigarettes much less addictive, meaning rangatahi experimenting with tobacco are less likely to become addicted adult smokers and existing smokers find it easier to quit.
Anaru Waa, Co-Director of ASPIRE2025 and Senior Fellow of Te Rōpū Rangahau Hauora A Eru Pōmare, University of Otago says, smokers themselves understand this and want drastically reduced nicotine levels made compulsory.
"Research we have done shows quite clearly that Māori who smoke strongly support the government introducing this measure," says Waa.
"Hāpai Te Hauora have listened and actioned on youth voices, our Smokefree May theme was gifted to us from our rangatahi. The theme was
"We’re backing you" and now we have this opportunity to back our rangatahi. Creating a Smokefree generation law that will back our rangatahi aspirations for a world where tobacco does not exist. " says Hart.
Many voices across Aotearoa have been heard loud and clear with today’s introduction of the Bill. Tihei Mauri Ora!