Em­pow­er­ing people to make a choice

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS -

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.

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