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World Smokefree Day - What Smokefree Means For Aotearoa

Today is World Smokefree Day, known in some countries as ‘World No Tobacco Day’.

Hāpai Te Hauora has engaged with communities most affected by smoking and asked the question: What does Smokefree mean to you? Since the 1st of May, Hāpai has received a range of answers from families and workplaces that were willing to make and share short 20-60 second videos about the meaning of Smokefree.

Hāpai Te Hauora CEO Selah Hart and National Tobacco Control Advocacy Service (NTCAS) Kaiwhakahaere, Stephanie Erick are pleased with the many thoughtful and thought-provoking responses that came in.

Selah Hart says: "It proves that we collectively already hold the mātauranga (the knowledge) and the will for change. Communities are ready to lead the discussion on how we get to Smokefree 2025. Stephanie Erick says it’s a time to be encouraged and to encourage others. "What we need is a determined response from the Government. We’ve done it with Covid-19, now let’s eliminate the harms from smoking once and for all."

To mark World Smokefree Day, Hāpai Te Hauora and digital creative agency No Six have collaborated on a short video celebrating the history and future of Smokefree Aotearoa. Hāpai is also showcasing the video responses that came in from around the country.

A number of Stop Smoking Services have also run innovative and successful online campaigns which are community-driven and began during our nationwide lockdown. The Smokefree Otago Coalition has created a ‘Pass on the Mātauranga/Knowledge’ video project which launches at 7am on World Smokefree Day on the Smokefree South Facebook Page , and the Cancer Society have launched an online poll asking whether New Zealanders want cigarette sales moved to R18 shops.

This morning a dawn blessing is to be held at the summit of Mt Parihaka officially declaring the mountain a smokefree and vapefree outdoor space and launching Whangarei District Council’s Smokefree Policy. Whangarei District Council is committed to the goal of Smokefree Aotearoa 2025.

Kaumātua Winiwini Kingi, one of many descendants of the last paramount rangatira on Parihaka, says the maunga has historical mana and will always be a place of significance for the hapū and the connection to the whare tapu of Ngāpuhi. "Maunga Parihaka is a special maunga to the descendants of Ngāti Kahu O Torongare through whakapapa," he says.

NTCAS General Manager Stephanie Erick says there is an air of positivity emerging on the journey to Smokefree 2025. "The Smokefree Cars Bill has just passed its third reading, the Vaping Amendment Bill went through Select Committee stage during lockdown. Hāpai te Hauora ran this online campaign under lockdown and communities came on board. Let’s keep that momentum going so that all communities can enjoy that smokefree life we’re building together."

See: Te Ara Hā Ora and Kick Butt Facebook pages; www.tobaccocontrol.nz website.

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