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Kelston community celebrates becoming a smokefree suburb

Kelston community celebrates becoming a smokefree suburb

Last night, the community of Kelston came together to celebrate the leadership of their young people. "Stop the Stock in Keli Block" was a campaign lead by students of Kelston Girls High School and Hāpai Te Hauora. The aim was to convince Kelston dairies to stop selling cigarettes for World Smoke Free Day.

Two dairies supported the initiative and last night the community came out to celebrate "Stop the Stock" with young singers, dance crews and a vibrant young MC to keep the Kelston Girls Auditorium alive throughout the night.

Kelston Girls student, Moana Tsujdo, appeared on the TV3 AM Show with Hāpai Te Hauora kaimahi, Lineti Latu, and stated:

"We see cigarettes as cancer in a box. Selling it in front of kids is sending the message that it is okay to smoke because it sold alongside bread and drinks. Do not lead kids down a cycle they cannot get themselves out of by normalizing cigarettes in our community"

Minister for Whānau Ora, Peeni Henare, came out to support the campaign and stated that "it goes to show that you don't need to wait for government or legislation to affect change in your community [...] I know it's just for one day, but it's a start."

A call to action went out last night and throughout World Smokefree Day, for the government to take heed of the voices of our young people, who want a better future for themselves and those still to come. Hāpai Te Hauora continue to vocalise that empowering communities and reducing the supply of tobacco must become priorities for the government’s anticipated tobacco control plan.

Hāpai Te Hauora CEO, Lance Norman, said "The Stop the Stock Project is testament to the fact that communities are power houses of strength that can create real change. But the rest of us also need to step up and do more. They wouldn’t have felt compelled to do this if we had better laws to restrict how much tobacco we allow to be sold in this country and where. Kids should have the right to walk to school without passing cigarette shops on every corner".

Again, our congratulations to the community of Kelston and all those who supported Stop the Stock in Keli Block. Our future leaders are here and now!

© Scoop Media

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