We need more investment in smokefree media campaigns
ASH considers that good mass media is a cornerstone of an effective tobacco control approach that encourages and supports New Zealanders to be smokefree.
Evidence shows that high quality, sustained and regularly refreshed mass media campaigns have a significant impact on quit rates and smoking prevalence. This includes promoting smokefree messages in a variety of ways including TV, print and outdoor advertising, online and social media, targeted mailers, and using mobile technology.
Good promotion is vital to trigger quit attempts and drive demand for stop smoking support. It provides the environment needed for higher numbers of people to successfully quit smoking. And we need at least 60,000 more people to quit smoking every year if we are to meet our smokefree target.
After many years of decreasing funding for mass media in New Zealand, in May 2021 the Government increased the smokefree budget allocation to $36.6M over 4 years for scaling up stop smoking services as well as health promotion and social marketing campaigns.
This is a welcome move, but it is insufficient. It is unlikely that the new budget will equate to even the $9 million government expenditure in 2010 when it set the Smokefree 2025 goal.
We need the funding for smokefree mass media increase to at least $11 million dollars per year. This would be equivalent to the spend on recent alcohol campaigns. That’s less than 5 cents per smoker per day! The average smokers spends $8.40 in tax on cigarettes per day – so they more than pay for the increase.
In 2020, the Health Promotion Agency launched the Quit Strong campaign. We need more campaigns like this and with greater reach.