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2024 New Year’s resolution for Aotearoa: Smokefree 2025 goal to be back on track

As we enter 2024, many will take the opportunity to reflect on the achievements, the challenges & life lessons of 2023. It’s at this time we make New Year’s resolutions and goals like committing to reconnect with your culture, family or language, exercising more, eating better and perhaps giving up smoking tobacco.

National Māori Public Health organisation Hāpai Te Hauora welcomes a New Year’s solution from the government who have stated their commitment to improving Māori health outcomes - to get our Smokefree 2025 goal back on track.

In reflection of the recent repeal of the SERPA, a pressing question arises: what measures will the government introduce as a replacement? Interim CEO of Hāpai Te Hauora Jason Alexander says, ‘It is crucial for the government to consider the long-term implications of removing such policies without adequate alternatives. The absence of a robust replacement plan not only undermines efforts to combat public health issues, like smoking, but also signals a lapse in governmental responsibility towards its citizens.’

The public, especially those directly affected by these changes, deserve a clear and strategy that prioritises health and welfare over financial gains. Put our people over profit - stop the repeal of the Smokefree legislation petition is an example of over 51,000 whānau adding weight to this response. Alexander states ‘Therefore, we urge the government to disclose their plans for addressing this gap and to ensure that these plans are focused on genuinely supporting and protecting the community and their commitment to improving Māori health outcomes."

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We await the Government’s New Year’s resolutions in response to the repeal. There are many possibilities, could we see an increase in the purchase age to twenty-five? Could we see a sinking lid policy be introduced to reduce retail supply? Would they delay denicotisation until 2026?

Hāpai Te Hauora National Tobacco Control Advocacy Service Lead Leitu Tufuga says, ‘The countdown to a Smokefree to 2025 now starts. For our whānau who choosing to quit smoking, we encourage you connect with your local stop smoking service provider. A winning New Year’s resolution for 2024 is to see world leading legislation SEPRA be reinstated as evidence points to saving 1.3 billion to the health system but more importantly improving health of all New Zealanders and saving lives like we promised’.

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