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Preparing For A Smokefree Environment Next Month

Media Statement

Tuesday 27 April 2004

TDH Preparing For A Smokefree Environment Next Month

Members of the public are encouraged to quit smoking as Tairawhiti District Health prepares to become a smokefree environment for patients and visitors next month.

The move to a totally smokefree environment will coincide with World Smokefree Day 31 May 2004 which has as its theme this year “Take the Smoke Outside: Haria te Auahi ki Waho”.

From Monday 31 May, visitors, patients, contractors and members of the public will not be able to smoke in any Tairawhiti District Health building or anywhere within the grounds, says Chief Executive Jim Green.

Patients and visitors are encouraged to use Tairawhiti District Health’s transition to a smokefree environment as a timely opportunity to reduce or stop smoking.

“We believe that people deserve to have a smokefree environment when they are on our site – whether it be to receive treatment, for work, or to visit.”

“Already hundreds of posters have been developed, smokefree signage designed, and further staff education has begun. We want to ensure our staff and the community will be well equipped to make the transition to a smokefree TDH.”

Mr Green said the decision to go smokefree supports the New Zealand Health Strategy objective of reducing smoking and smoking related disease.

“Creating a smokefree campus is a priority because the single most effective way to reduce ill health in this community is for people to stop smoking.”

He said the statistics around the dangers of smoking made disturbing reading.

“Smoking causes the premature death of an estimated 4,700 New Zealanders every year and it kills one in two people who continue to smoke past the age of 35.”

“People who continue to smoke are putting themselves, and the lives of family and whanau in danger.”
Adults and children who have never smoked but who live with smokers have a 15 per cent higher risk of death than those living in a smoke-free household according to a study by the University of Otago's Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Mr Green said.

Mr Green said TDH became smokefree for staff during last year. He congratulated staff who have used the new policy as an impetus to quit.

Anyone choosing to give up smoking should phone:

- Ngati Porou Hauora Smoking Cessation Programmer Jimmy Aupouri, (06) 864 6803, or 027 2727 310
- Turanga Health on (06) 869 0457.
- Quitline on 0800 778 778.

ENDS

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