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It’s My Life Smokefree Summit


Hon Tariana Turia

Associate Minister for Health

It’s My Life Smokefree Summit - A By Youth For Youth Smokefree Festival Day
Massey University, Te Papaioea

I have to admit to a great sense of excitement about the purpose of this smokefree summit.

The driving force behind this summit is to kickstart a revolution – the smokefree youth movement.

It is a revolution dear to my heart.

While the purpose – to eliminate tobacco from our lives is laudable – the really remarkable feature of this Summit is that it is your momentum, your inspiration, your leadership that is making it happen.

It is about you standing up for the kaupapa – telling the world that tobacco is not your future.

It is you proudly and defiantly saying, it’s my life.

Not for you a future defined by health restrictions by watching your hard earned cash literally disappearing in a puff of smoke.

And most of all today you are making a stand for the preservation and protection of life.

We know now that if nothing changes tobacco will kill as many as one billion people this century.

And at the risk of sounding like a badly repeating record, I find it utterly unacceptable that every year around five thousand people die from a smoking related illness in Aotearoa. Three hundred and fifty of those deaths are people who die from the impacts of second-hand smoke.

Second hand smoke is what is also called passive smoking – when you drive along the road and you see adults in a car smoking, any children or other passengers in the car bearing the brunt of those fumes and the harm caused.
That is one of the reasons why I have been promoting a campaign to ban smoking in cars with children.

The research tells us that children exposed to second hand smoke in a pressure cooker environment like a vehicle, are at higher risk of respiratory infections like pneumonia and chest infections. Exposure to second-hand smoke is also significantly associated with susceptibility to initiation and more frequent smoking. And for those who don’t think it’s such a big deal, I need to say that research by public health Professor Richard Edwards found that 23% of 14 and 15 year olds were affected by second hand smoke in vehicles during a given week. That’s enormous by anyone’s standards – one in four.

Today then, is about standing up for the principle – the life-giving principle of creating your own future.
This summit is a virtual incubator for great ideas to live lives free of tobacco.
At the Government level we’re doing our best –
· we’ve increased the tax on tobacco products so it costs more
· we’ve removed tobacco displays from shops – on the premise, out of sight, out of mind
· we’re raising the fines when people sell tobacco to anyone under 18 years of age
· and we’re working towards bringing in plain packaging of tobacco products to take all the glamour and lure of the marketing image

But if we are all committed to a Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 it’s going to take a revolution on many fronts.
That’s why I’m so looking forward to seeing what comes out of the “It’s my Life” movement. I know that amongst the budding architects, artists, social entrepreneurs and IT gurus within this room will emerge a huge wealth of innovative, creative and original ideas about pushing boundaries for social change.

It’s great that Katie Lou Holland – of the D-Myst campaign fame – is here to share her ideas about what is working well in the UK – and that she is accompanied by Helen Casstle, a member of the local Smokefree Liverpool Campaign which includes D-Myst (which is code for Direct Movement of the Youth Smokefree Team).

Some of your ideas may become viral through the funding we have made available in the Pathway to Smokefree New Zealand 2025 Innovation Fund. Others may well become the seeds of transformation within your own whanau. Whatever pathway your ideas take, I want to congratulate all of you here, for stepping up to the challenge, to lead the way to a Smokefree Tomorrow.

And finally, I want to make a special mention of three outstanding young leaders – Braden Prideaux, Nicole Watts and Chanel Tamahaga, who have done a massive job in organising the Manawatu Summit. What I see happening today is the potential to establish a smokefree youth movement across the land. I want to encourage you to do all that you can to make this happen. And on behalf of our Parliament and more importantly in thinking about all our mokopuna, I just want to say, thank you for standing up and making a better future for us all.

ENDS

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