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Maori, Proud And Smokefree

Maori, Proud And Smokefree

Winnie Tanginui knows the effects smoking has on an unborn child which is why she quit smoking during both pregnancies. Through Quitline, Me Mutu, Winnie is now represented in the decreasing Māori smoking rates and enjoying her status as a proud Smokefree Māori.

Of Waikato, Te Rarawa and Te Aupōuri descent, Winnie says she has tried a million times to quit: “I gave up smoking in 1999 when I got pregnant with my eldest daughter. I lasted through the pregnancy and a few months after.

“I quit in 2009 when I found out that I was pregnant with my wairua taonga. But I kept falling off the waka.

“I signed up with Quitline in July, 2013, bought my last packet of cigarettes in August and became a non-smoker,” Winnie says.

Te Ara Hā Ora, the National Māori Tobacco Control Service and national stop smoking service Quitline, Me Mutu are hearing many success stories just like Winnie’s and they are thrilled to see a significant decrease in Māori smoking rates.

The 2013 Census found that smoking prevalence among Māori had dropped from 42.2% in 2006 to 32.7% in 2013. The recent Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Year 10 smoking surveyshowed that smoking amongst Māori Year 10 is also continuing to show rapid decline. Daily smoking amongst Māori Year 10 has declined to 8.5% in 2013 compared to 26.9% in 2003 and 30.3% in 1999.

“Cessation and public health workers across the country can pat themselves on the back for their determination to support Smokefree whānau and the Smokefree 2025 goal” says Zoe Hawke of Te Ara Hā Ora.

Te Ohu Auahi Mutunga - a stop smoking service in Palmerston North – is also noticing an increase in Māori wanting to stamp out smoking. Quit coach Marilyn McKay’s client says money is a huge motivator for her wanting to quit. “My client has been auahi kore for the past three months and she’s saved $920. She checks her account every day and she feels great.”

Quitline CEO Paula Snowden says every year Quitline, Me Mutu helps about 12,000 Māori to quit smoking. “We know you have a better chance of successfully quitting if you use a support service,” she says.

Winnie celebrates over 290 Smokefree days. “I know a journey to a thousand miles begins with one step. I use Quitline’s blogs, texts and phone support. I support 981 bloggers on Quitline’s website too,” she says.

“I am doing this for my seven children and my future.

“I am proud to be Smokefree as I am a visionary leader living a healthier and wealthier lifestyle.”

Quitline, Me Mutu and Te Ara Hā Ora warn that “we must maintain momentum!”

Both organisations urge action in areas such as the reduction of duty-free allowance on cigarettes and tobacco; Smokefree cars; increased investment in cessation and new nicotine replacement devices; increased taxation; and unbranded packaging.

- ENDS –

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