Smok­ing a threat to Ma¯ori cul­ture and a symp­tom

Manawatu Guardian - - NEWS -

Smoke­free Manawatu¯ fo­cus group mem­ber Hera Epiha em­pha­sised the need to ad­dress to­bacco use from a holis­tic per­spec­tive be­cause of its threat to Ma¯ ori cul­ture.

“Smok­ing is just a symp­tom of our so­ci­ety. All the other things that sur­round smok­ing, like hous­ing and un­em­ploy­ment, need to be taken into ac­count too.”

Hera also shared that a smoke­free Palmer­ston North means fit­ting in, hav­ing a place to be­long.

“This demon­strates that strength­en­ing our iden­tity and know­ing who we are as Ma¯ ori is so im­por­tant in cre­at­ing a thriv­ing com­mu­nity.

“As Ma¯ ori, our iden­tity is strongly tied to our re­la­tion­ship with our en­vi­ron­ment which makes get­ting to­bacco out of our com­mu­ni­ties such an im­por­tant kau­papa.”

Cre­at­ing a vi­sion for a re­silient, thriv­ing, and smoke­free Manawatu¯ is high on the agenda for the fo­cus group com­prised of Palmer­ston North com­mu­nity mem­bers who at­tended a hui at Te Wakahuia Manawatu¯ Trust in High­bury.

The hui was called by Ha­pai Te Hauora/Ma¯ ori Pub­lic Health Ser­vices from Auck­land, to gather in­for­ma­tion to sup­port a pro­posed ap­proach to gov­ern­ment on re­duc­ing the avail­abil­ity of to­bacco in com­mu­nity dairies.

MidCen­tral Pub­lic Health Smoke­free health pro­mo­tion ad­vi­sor Julie Beck­ett said re­search shows that dairies sup­ply­ing to­bacco are dis­pro­por­tion­ately lo­cated in lower so­cioe­co­nomic com­mu­ni­ties in which Ma¯ ori are more likely to re­side.

“This con­trib­utes to smok­ing up­take and poses chal­lenges for those wish­ing to quit.”

There are nine to­bacco-free re­tail­ers in the MidCen­tral re­gion.

“We would love to see more dairies choose to be to­bacco free. There are many rea­sons dairies go to­bacco free, in­clud­ing the fear of be­ing robbed.

“The nine dairies have shown that their busi­nesses can con­tinue with­out the need to sell to­bacco.

“Some dairy own­ers have com­mented that it’s a huge weight off their shoul­ders not hav­ing thou­sands of dol­lars’ worth of to­bacco in their shop. Oth­ers, who are near schools, feel proud that school chil­dren won’t see peo­ple pur­chas­ing to­bacco from their shops.”

While there have been some achieve­ments in to­bacco con­trol leg­is­la­tion, these hui with com­mu­nity have demon­strated that both the smoke­free sec­tor and com­mu­ni­ties want tougher leg­isla­tive re­stric­tions on to­bacco.

Fo­cus group mem­ber Raylee Duff said there was a need for greater re­stric­tion on sell­ing cig­a­rettes near schools, al­co­hol stores and bars. She said re­stric­tions on to­bacco sup­ply are needed if New Zea­land is se­ri­ous about Smoke­free 2025.

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