New Zealand is moving closer to being smokefree and this World Smokefree Day is the perfect time to celebrate our smokefree environments, places and whānau, said Bridget Rowse from Northland District Health Board.
“More and more New Zealanders are becoming smokefree or not taking up smoking at all. The most recent tobacco-use figures show 84 percent of New Zealanders do not smoke, which is 4 percent more than in 2008. Importantly, fewer young people are starting to smoke with 96 percent of 15 to 17 year olds staying smokefree, which is a marked increase from 84 percent a decade ago.”
The number of totally smokefree workplaces is also increasing. More and more businesses are going over and above the legal requirements and declaring all workspaces – including outdoor areas – to be smokefree, and helping employees access stop smoking support. Northland’s local authorities are also showing strong leadership by declaring council-owned parks, playgrounds and sports grounds to be smokefree.
“All this action is creating a New Zealand where being smokefree is normal, whether it’s in public, at work, or at home with whānau. All of us, especially young people, are influenced by those around us, so if we don’t see people smoking we are less likely to smoke ourselves,” Bridget said.
“Here in Northland there are so many smokefree success stories I’d love to celebrate. I congratulate those cafes that participated in the Fresh Air Project Whangarei that now offer customers 100 percent smokefree outdoor dining.”
“Northland is just one area of New Zealand but similar action is happening all around the country. Collectively it all moves the country closer to the Government’s goal of Smokefree Aotearoa 2025,” Bridget said.
“On May 31, World Smokefree Day, I encourage everyone to either celebrate being smokefree or encourage those who are not smokefree to embrace the smokefree lifestyle.
 Health Promotion Agency 2017. NZ Health and Lifestyle Survey 2016.
 Ministry of Health, The New Zealand Health Survey 2016/17.