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‘Kick butt: No Smoking Whanganui’

‘Kick butt: No Smoking Whanganui’
Hon Tariana Turia
Associate Minister of Health / MP for Te Tai Hauauru
Monday 26 October 2009

This week is the inaugural No Smoking Whanganui Week and I am putting my full support behind it for one simple reason - I want our families and children to live fuller and better lives.

The initiative is not an attack on smokers but to inspire and support them to give quitting a go.

So if you have a friend or someone in your whanau who smokes, I encourage you to appeal to them to give it a try. No doubt they have most probably already done that in the past, and fell off the wagon, but nevertheless we must keep telling them that we love them, and it’s because of that love that we will keep hounding them about it.

It breaks my heart to see people close to me who smoke, and I am continually looking for ways to help them whether it’s pushing for raising the price of smokes, trying to ban tobacco displays in retail shops and the list goes on.

The most powerful tool to quit smoking that I have come across so far is that of whanau - stories of elderly women who started smoking in the 1960s, when the deadly affects of smoking were not known, and who have chosen to quit in the new millennium so they can live longer for their mokopuna.

It is not unusual for most smokers to have attempted to quit smoking 14-17 times before they rid themselves of the addiction, so we must never give up on them.

The theme for this year will be to promote cessation services - where smokers can go for help to quit. Those local promotions will take place tomorrow (Tuesday) at the main entrance at the hospital and at the river front by Waimarie. On Wednesday more promotions will be held at the front foyer at UCOL, on Thursday at the Whanganui District Council and on Friday at Majestic Square.

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I take my hat off to ASH and the local health providers for organising this initiative. No doubt it’s one that I hope other places throughout the country will pick up on as well.

About 5000 New Zealanders die each year from a smoking related illness. And to be quite frank too many have been relatives and friends of mine, most probably yours too.

If we are to grow a strong and healthy generation for our children yet to come, then we must start now.

To all the smokers in Whanganui I say to you that you can do it, for the sake of your children, your whanau give it a go because they need you, Whanganui and Aotearoa need you.


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