Aotearoa is making history today with the launch of a bold Smokefree Action Plan that aims to reduce daily smoking prevalence to less than 5 percent for all population groups across the motu by 2025.
The action plan has six key focus areas with ground-breaking policies to radically reduce the availability, addictiveness and appeal of smoked tobacco products. New policies include making it harder to buy these products by reducing the number of shops selling them and decreasing nicotine levels in smoked tobacco products to help people who smoke to quit smoking and help people, especially young people, to never become addicted.
New laws will also prevent smoked tobacco products from being designed in ways that keep people addicted and will kickstart a smokefree generation by making it an offence to sell or supply smoked tobacco products to people born after a certain date.
“Smoking rates continue to head in the right direction but there is a lot more mahi ahead of us. Smoking kills approximately 4,500 to 5,000 people every year in New Zealand – that is around 12 to 13 deaths every day due to smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke. Smoked tobacco products take too many lives, and the impacts disproportionately affect Māori and Pacific people,” says Population Health and Prevention Group Manager Jane Chambers.
“We must move swiftly and strategically to address these marked inequities and the disastrous impacts of smoked tobacco products so tamariki, rangatahi and our future generations are protected from harm.”
Action plan success looks like three key outcomes – eliminating inequities in smoking rates and smoking-related illnesses; creating a smokefree generation by increasing the number of children and young people who remain smokefree; and increasing the number of people who successfully quit smoking.
Non-legislative work is already starting. Budget 2021 committed an extra $13.875 million towards additional stop smoking services, $8 million towards Pacific focused services and $12.750 million towards smokefree health promotion and community mobilisation.
The Smokefree 2025 Taskforce also stood up on 9 December and will provide assurance that equitable outcomes for Māori are achieved during the implementation of the Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 Action Plan.
A Bill will be put before Parliament in mid-2022. The Bill will set out the timeframes for the legislative policies to be phased in.
A copy of the Action Plan, educational tools and other key documents can be explored on the Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 Action Plan page (short URL: health.govt.nz/smokefree2025).