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NPDC praised for extending its Smokefree policy

Media Release

September 24, 2015

Taranaki DHB praises NPDC’s leadership for extending its Smokefree policy

Taranaki District Health Board (Taranaki DHB) said today the extension of New Plymouth District Council’s (NPDC) Smokefree Parks Policy is a positive step towards normalising not smoking.

Rosemary Clements, Taranaki DHB Acting CEO said, “The Council’s decision supports the Government’s Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 vision. The less smoking is seen in public, the less normal it is for people to smoke. This is particularly important in stopping young people taking up smoking.”

Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 is the Ministry of Health’s vision for New Zealanders to enjoy tobacco-free lives and empowering people to quit smoking. This is a priority for Taranaki DHB and reaching this goal will mean that almost no-one will smoke (less than 5% of people) and tobacco will be difficult to sell and supply. It is also a commitment to future generations to be free from exposure to tobacco and tobacco use.

In 2013 Taranaki DHB became Smokefree/Auahi Kore and removed all designated smoking areas from the hospital grounds.

Mrs Clements said, “Taranaki DHB is the largest provider of health care services in Taranaki and we have a responsibility to be leaders and role models on this major health issue. Smoking is the single biggest preventable cause of illness and early death for Taranaki people.”

According to the last census, there were approximately 9,639 regular smokers 15 years and over in New Plymouth. Meanwhile 80% of the Taranaki population doesn’t smoke; these people have the right to smoke-free air in public places.

Taranaki DHB Health Promotor Jason Matthews said, “Smoking and tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable illness and death in New Zealand, accounting for an estimated 5000 deaths every year, with 350 of these deaths resulting second-hand smoke.”

“We as a region have a responsibility to empower smokers in our communities to quit smoking, as well as helping people who have already given up to retain their smoke free status. The extension of the Smokefree Parks policy is significant part of this," he added.

“Children are particularly vulnerable to second-hand smoke due to their smaller lungs and lower body weight. They should be able to grow up free of the risk of becoming addicted to tobacco and the effects of second-hand smoke,” said Mr Matthews.

The DHB offers pathways to a wide range of support services for those in the region wanting to quit, including the Aukati Kaipaipa, GPs, midwives and LMCs, Quitline and the Stoptober Challenge coming up in October.

Stoptober participants are challenged to quit smoking for 31 days. “If you can quit for one month, you are five times more likely to quit smoking for good, so it’s about encouraging realistic short term goals as a way to stick to a long-term quit smoking goal,” said Mr Matthews. There are prizes up for grabs for those who complete the challenge, including Z Fuel vouchers and an iPad Mini 2.

For more information about the Stoptober Challenge and support to quit smoking:

• www.stoptober.nz/

• Tui Ora in New Plymouth (06 75 94 064)

• Ngati Ruanui Health Centre in Hawera (06 278 1310)

• Quitline (0800 778 778)

ENDS


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