Community-led initiatives work

One of the lessons from the Covid-19 vaccine rollout is that community-led initiatives are essential to ensure we meet the needs of all communities.

Population-wide policies on reducing cigarette smoking have contributed to declines in prevalence, however these have not been fair for everyone.  Smoking rates remain especially high for Māori, Pasifika and low income New Zealanders, 

ASH endorses a redistribution of resources to targeting and empowering changes in smoking behaviour to those who still have high smoking rates.  We need investment in innovative approaches to community based efforts to dramatically lessen cigarette smoking, amplify existing local action and draw on international evidence and experiences with high smoking populations.

The world views and lived experiences of people who are cigarette smokers should be central to designing initiatives and interventions to help them stop smoking.

Increasing the annual quit numbers from around 15,000 to 60,000 successful ex-smokers per annum requires significant engagement outside medicalised or clinical models of cessation. ASH welcomes the report from the Ministry of Health on Māori women’s smoking, Ka Pu te Ruha ka Hao te Rangatahi. This is an example of engaging with communities and providers to better understand needs, and the barrier and enablers for change. The report has several important recommendations that we encourage as a model engaging with and for providing better support for cigarette smokers who want to quit.

ASH endorses the amplification of initiatives within New Zealand such as "vape2save" programmes that have built a peer network of Wāhine Māori supporting each other to quit smoking.  Emphasis should be on community groups that have demonstrated successful quitting.

"It is therefore essential that effective cessation services designed and delivered by Māori for Māori are made increasingly available."  Māori Affairs Select Committee, November 2010