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Smokefree Campaign moves from New York to Gisborne

Smokefree Campaign moves from New York to Gisborne

Local boy and now internationally acclaimed smokefree advocate Shane Kawenata Bradbrook will be in Gisborne later this year to help energize smokefree initiatives.

Mr Bradbrook who is of Ngai Tamanuhiri and Rongowhakaata descent, made international headlines last month when he won a rare public apology from global giant in the tobacco industry, Philip Morris, for using Maori images on its packaging.

The apology came in New York during a shareholders meeting. Just getting to the microphone was a challenge for Mr Bradbrook who is Director of Te Reo Marama (Maori Smokefree Coalition).

“They have people who try and prevent smokefree campaigners getting to the microphones but someone held me a place.”

Mr Bradbrook says confronting the tobacco industry about its role in the devastation caused by smoking is a different tact for New Zealand smokefree campaigners but something that is practiced widely overseas.

“The tobacco industry is used to being pushed on public health issues, and that people are dying. But they are dismissive of that. This approach adds a new dimension. This is ultimately the industry’s responsibility and people have been addicted by them.”

He says aiming smokefree campaigns and media attention at the industry “intellectualizes the debate about smoking”. It makes people think about who they are buying their cigarettes off. It isn’t the dairy owner, it’s this large industry that “doesn’t give a rat’s about them,” he says.

Mr Bradbrook is keen to help revitalize local smokefree group Taki Tahi Toa Mano. He was in Gisborne for its launch two years ago and now wants to pass on some of the ideas and tools Te Reo Marama uses to raise awareness of a smokefree world.

“In the last few years smokefree campaigns have been about social marketing. Let’s put out a few posters or multi media about the dangers of smoking and the public will get it. While there is still a place for that, we also need to focus on practical things, and giving groups the tools and resources they need to do that. Of course it always comes down to money.”

Mr Bradbrook says as an example, groups could hold smokefree events outside tobacco industry buildings. No matter what the activity, whether it be street theatre, or an expo, its proximity to the industry will help raise media attention and public awareness.

ENDS

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