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Northland Health smokefree policy praised

Health Minister Annette King today congratulated Northland Health on adopting a smokefree policy from July 1.

Mrs King said smoking and tobacco use had been clearly identified as a major cause of preventable disease and death.

"It is obviously appropriate that major health providers like Northland Health should take then lead in providing a safe workplace for their staff and for patients, and in encouraging people to give up smoking.

"This is even more important now that hospital and health services (HHSs) are about to begin the transition process to becomes district health boards (DHBs).

"The DHBs will be charged with looking after the broad health requirements of their population. One of their chief focuses will be to work, under the umbrella of the New Zealand Health strategy, on ways of preventing a need for people to seek hospital care. Encouraging people to give up smoking is as good a place as any to start doing that."

Mrs King said Northland Health's new policy precluded smoking in its facilities, grounds and vehicles. "I am really pleased Northland has taken up the challenge. They are doing their bit to help their people lead healthier lives. The Government's smokefree and smoking cessation policies will back them all the way."

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