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Launch of National Stop Smoking Practitioner Qualification

Hon Tariana Turia
Associate Minister for Health

Launch of the National Stop Smoking Practitioner Qualification and National Training Service, Parliament

In three weeks time, at about this time of the day, I will stand to deliver my valedictory speech after 18 years in Parliament.

The usual pre-election frenzy of making sure all loose ends are tied up has intensified beyond belief, as I look critically across all my portfolios, and assess what needs to be done before I shut down the computer and close the door.

But if there’s one thing I know for sure, it is that the future for tobacco reform has never been more promising.

And the reason I know that, is all around this room – the chief executives, managers, and practitioners of the stop smoking services;

the advocates and health professionals from district health boards, primary healthcare organisations, ASH, Quitline, National Heart Foundation, Smokefree Coaltion; the amazing tobacco team from the Ministry of Health; representatives from pharmaceutical companies; Members of Parliament and most of all members of families.

I am, therefore, just so pleased that I have this opportunity to say to you all – thank you.

Thank you for your determination to see a Smokefree Aotearoa by 2025.

You must not let that milestone go.

Currently, there are still 463,000 smokers – that’s approximately every single person in the greater Wellington – a massive fifteen percent of the population over fifteen years of age.

That’s still far too many.

I want all of you here to know just how humbled I have been by your efforts, your passion and your hard work to deliver high quality stop smoking services.

Today is a very significant point for this workforce. For it is making a really clear statement that quality counts.

The initiative developed by the National Training Service to establish a new standard of stop smoking treatment and practice training for the stop smoking workforce is important.

You will be aware, better than anyone, that the Ministry directly funds 42 face-to-face stop smoking services as well as Quitline. Some DHBs also directly fund stop smoking services within their districts.

With such a range of services we really need to focus our efforts and do everything possible to make sure we know what works. That requires all services to adopt the three Rs approach – Reflect, Review and Refresh.

We all know we have a huge challenge in eliminating tobacco harm from within our families. The current rates of stopping smoking are too slow to reach the 2025 goal.

We have to ask ourselves – is it worth the effort?

And I know – without a split-second of hesitation – that you all know it is.

Because we are not just talking about excellence in terms of evidence based practice.

Or quality of innovation or effectiveness of clinical services.

We are talking about saving lives, supporting families, strengthening our communities.

The Government has committed to strengthening the tobacco workforce – and we must ensure Government maintains that commitment.

In May 2012, Inspiring was awarded the National Training Service contract and today we congratulate you and everyone involved in developing the national Stop Smoking Practitioners Certificate.

In the video presentation by New Zealander of the Year, Dr Lance O’Sullivan, he talked about aiming for excellence- and challenging us not to settle for mediocrity.

These are laudable goals not just for Stop Smoking Services but more importantly, for Whānau Ora.

We are entitled to excellence in life outcomes – to the very highest standard of health and wellbeing we can achieve.

Today we welcome the decision to grow cultural champions who know and understand whānau as well as appreciating the expertise required in cessation support.

I want to be absolutely clear that it has been a huge struggle to make even the gains we have.

The ability to translate the investment made into tangible gains has been thwarted by the complexity of the addiction.

Until we truly come to terms with the addictive nature of the substance our work in reducing tobacco harm is always going to be hard.

And so finally, I want to really congratulate all of you for your exceptional courage; persistence and dedication in the journey ahead towards a Smokefree Aotearoa 2025.

I feel very confident that when the time comes to hang up my ministerial warrant, there is a wonderful workforce here to continue to take up the baton in every sphere of influence you enter.

I am delighted to launch the National Stop Smoking Practitioner Qualification and National Training Service.

And if there is one thing I would ask, is that you send me an invitation to the massive celebration we must have eleven years from now, when we celebrate living in a Smokefree Aotearoa.


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