Empowering people to make a choice
World Smoke-free Day is celebrated globally on May 31 each year.
It’s about creating a supportive environment for quitting, and encouraging families and whanau across Aotearoa to create environments where our tamariki are free from exposure to tobacco, beginning in our own homes.
It also encourages people around the world to claim their right to health.
We have a government-backed vision for a Smoke-free Aotearoa-New Zealand by 2025. So what does that mean? It means that: Less than 5% of the population will smoke. Our children, tamariki and mokopuna will be free from tobacco and enjoy smoke-free lives. To achieve this we need to double the number of people who quit smoking, halve the number of people who take up smoking and protect our young people from exposure to smoking and the promotion of tobacco.
It’s not about demonising people who smoke, banning smoking or any sort of prohibition.
It’s about empowering people to make their own choices for their own futures, free of addiction.
To help us reach this goal, we need support from and engagement with the public and local decision makers.
Creating supportive environments like smoke-free outdoor areas, particularly where young people are present, will help to reach the 2025 goal.
Smoke-free playgrounds, sports fields, homes and cars are a great place to start.
Recent research indicates that at least eight of every 10 people who smoke regret having started, and six in every 10 have tried quitting in the past five years.
Most people who smoke want to quit, they just don’t always have the support they need and don’t always know how. If you have someone in your whanau thinking about quitting, or if you smoke and want to discourage others from being trapped by this addiction, think about the things you can do to create a supportive smoke-free environment.
It might be as simple as creating a smoke-free home, car or waka, encouraging each other in healthy habits and choices and perhaps considering turning quitting into a team event.
Some people quit with a friend, others know their whanau are in their corner cheering them on – you don’t have to do it alone.
A future without tobacco is a future without the leading cause of death and disease in New Zealand.
A largely smoke-free Aotearoa-New Zealand will: Improve the health and well-being of our local communities. Stop our young people from starting to smoke. Create an environment that endorses being smoke-free as the ‘norm’. Help people who smoke to quit. World Smoke-free Day is a perfect opportunity to contribute to the goal of a Smoke-free Aotearoa-New Zealand and a future in which our tamariki and mokopuna will be free from tobacco and enjoy smoke-free lives.
So join with both people who smoke and those who don’t around the world, and be a role-model for the wellbeing and hauora of your whanau this May 31.
For World Smoke-free Day and beyond – it’s about family and whanau. Let’s create a positive legacy for future generations.