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Settlement the size of Carterton killed by smoking

19 May 2009

Settlement the size of Carterton wiped out by smoking deaths.

Hone Hurihanganui, chief executive of Wairarapa health organisation Whaiora says the equivalent of a settlement slightly bigger than Carterton is wiped out each year because of smoking.

He was commenting on Face the Facts, a new series of messages to inform and educate the public about the health risks associated with smoking.

The first fact highlighted in the campaign is that 5,000 New Zealanders die every year from smoking.

“Five thousand is such a big number that it’s hard to comprehend,” says Mr. Hurihanganui. “To put it in context, just over 4,000 people live in Carterton, so 5,000 deaths is the equivalent of losing everyone in Carterton, every year.”

“And the really shocking thing is that these deaths are preventable. We live in a developed country, yet we still watch 5,000 people die needlessly form tobacco use every year. How have we let this happen?”

Face the Facts will present a range of smoking facts over the next few months, to communicate the truth about tobacco and the effects of smoking, not only to the individual, but also to families, whānau and the community.

Mr. Hurihanganui says he hopes Face the Facts will bring home to Wairarapa people the stark reality of the illness and death caused by smoking.

“Half of continuing smokers will die early form smoking. Those are terrible odds. In the Wairarapa, that equates to 4,583 people if we look at current smoking statistics. This is a huge loss to many families and to our community in general.”

“Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but it could save your life. There are Quit Coaches on staff at Whaiora and we have a good network of Quit Coaches in the Wairarapa. As World Smokefree Day is coming soon on 31 May, maybe now is the time to find the strength to have another go at quitting.”

Face the Facts has been developed by the Health Sponsorship Council in conjunction with the Ministry of Health. It has the support of major health organisations in New Zealand. More information can be found on


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