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Smokefree Action Plan needed for underserved communities

Jun 17, 2021 | Media release

Tala Pasifika; Pacific Action For Change congratulate Associate Minister of Health, Dr. Ayesha Verrall for today’s release of a strong comprehensive action plan to achieve a Smokefree Aotearoa.

Tala Pasifika Director, Lealailepule Edward Cowley says “I am so pleased to see the Government have delivered on their Manifesto promise to prioritise the development of this plan because smoking rates for Pacific people are still too high and the status quo has not been able to reduce our smoking rates significantly to reach the 2025 goal”

The prevalence for Pacific smokers in 2013 was 23% and in 2018 census it was 21%, with over a third of current Pacific smokers living in the Counties Manukau DHB catchment.

Associate Minister, Dr. Ayesha Verrall said today that “Recent data tells us New Zealand’s smoking rates continue to decrease, but they need to reduce more quickly, especially for Māori and Pacific people.”

Pacific Public Health Champion for PHA NZ, Associate Professor El-Shadan Tautolo says “this is a turning point for New Zealand’s Tobacco Control Programme. If the entire action plan is implemented as intended with appropriate resources and the right people at the helm, then I think we will be able to reach our communities who have been underserved and under resourced for long enough”.

Tala Pasifika uplift this plan that recognises key recommendations made in the landmark 2010 Māori Affairs Select Committee report into the tobacco industry in Aotearoa and the consequences for Māori. “Tala Pasifika were represented by a number of our Auckland community leaders at the oral hearings held for the Māori Affairs Select Committee, this is a long-awaited action plan that has now arrived” says Cowley.

“This is an important time for Pacific leaders, advocates and communities to have their say and I hope the many groups and individuals do get on board and send in their thoughts and ideas around how we can make this plan work even better for our families. ” says Tautolo.

The consultation on the Proposals for Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 Action Plan is open until 5pm 31 May 2021 and feedback can be submitted here. The Ministry of Health plan to analyse the feedback and use it to inform a draft action plan that the Minister says will be considered by Cabinet.

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