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Niue: Smoke Free Village To Smoke Free Nation


Niue: Smoke Free Village Could Lead To Smoke Free Nation

By Jeremy Rose


Niue could become the world’s first smoke free nation. Last year the village of Tuapa became the first village in Niue - and possibly the world - to declare itself smoke free.

And the Director of Niue’s Deparment of Health, Dr Sitaleki Finau, says the department has been working through the practicalities of Niue declaring itself smoke free for some time.

"We're trying to get some other villages to buy into the smoke free idea and in fact one of the policies we're looking is whether we can make Niue the first smoke-free country."

Image: Dr Sitaleki Finau, by Jeremy Rose.

But Dr Finau says declaring Tuapa smoke free hasn't been all plain sailing. Some villagers have simply taken their habits indoors... possibly putting their children at greater risk of passive smoking than would have otherwise been the case.

Makafoli Siafa, who owns the land on which a sign declaring Tuapa smoke free stands, says he won't be given up smoking anytime soon.

"No one asked my permission to put the sign there... "

Siafa, who is well known on the island as one of the only local singers to have professionally produced CDs, says he hopes the next generation gives up smoking but he can't see himself quitting the life-long habit.


Click to enlarge


Click to enlarge


Click to enlarge

As the composer of such hits as "Best Drinker in the Village all Day all Night Have all the Women" and "Hard Working Labour 6am to 6pm Get Pay 2 Shillings or $6 Monday to Friday" it seems likely Siafa will commit his thoughts on the anti-smoking movement to song.

Former finance minister and Tuapa representative in Niue's Legislative Assembly, Fisa Pihigia, is the man behind the smoke free village idea.

Pihigia, who was once a two-pack-a-day smoker, says he never expected the village to become truly smoke free over-night.

"We will allow people to wean themselves out of it ... rather than all of a sudden saying you can't smoke."

Pihigia says consulted widely with the village's 126 residents before declaring it smoke-free and there was widespread - if no unanimous support for the proposal.

Dr Finau says although banning cigarettes would see a drop in government revenue due to the loss of tobacco taxes it would be more than off-set by savings in the health budget.

*******

Since Jeremy Rose first produced a version of this story for Radio New Zealand International, last week, it has been picked up by the world media with reports running in Britain's Independent, the Associated Press, the Chinese Xinhua news agency among others.

Please see…

Independent

AP story

Xinhua

Radio Australia


ENDS

*************

Jeremy Rose's visit to Niue was sponsored by the Pacific Co-operation Foundation. www.pcf.org.nz/

Copyright Jeremy Rose. Email: jeremy@scoop.co.nz


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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