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Whanau key to Maori smoking cessation

Whanau key to Maori smoking cessation

Associate Health and Maori Affairs Minister Tariana Turia has called on whanau to make the strongest possible commitment to address smoking addiction.

“Smoking places a huge burden on our people,” said Mrs Turia. “We will only free ourselves by working together and using our resources effectively.

“Our greatest strength is our whanau. I call on our whanau to encourage and support smokers to give up. And equally important, we must make more effort to discourage our young people from starting in the first place.

“There are plenty of studies that describe and explain why tangata whenua might smoke more, and why smoking might decline more slowly among our people.

“But explanations do not help us. In the end, it is our health that suffers, and our development that is held back by widespread smoking. One serious consequence is that whole generations of our leadership will die young. It’s up to us to quit.

“I have seen a report that shows culturally appropriate quit services are important, and have twice the success rate among our people than mainstream services.

“Our whanau and the specialist services dedicated to tangata whenua are effective when they support each other,” she said.

“Some of the successes of our whanau, and specialist service providers, are masked by demographic trends. In other words, smoking is not declining among our people but, without the efforts of whanau and quit services who target our people, it might have increased through population changes.

“Our young people start younger and smoke more heavily than others, so addiction is a serious risk. Part of the reason is that they are more likely to have parents who smoke, and who allow smoking inside the home.

“We must work together as whanau to turn this around,” said Mrs Turia.

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