We need more investment in smokefree media campaigns
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.
Whilst many of the initiatives the Government has signalled for its smokefree plan need legislation, and will therefore take time to implement, appropriate mass media to support people to quit smoking can happen immediately. It is therefore imperative funding that will ensure we attain the Smokefree 2025 goal is increased now.
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.
ASH says the 2021 increased government funding for mass media is welcome, but it is still insufficient.
It is unlikely that the 2021 budget will equate to even the $9M government expenditure in 2010 when it set the Smokefree 2025 goal.
The funding for smokefree mass media must increase to at least $20M per annum for the next 4 years.
The average smoker spends over $3,000 in tax on cigarettes each year. The cost, per smoker, of a $20M spend would be less than $5.00 per year for each smoker, so they more than pay for the increase in spending.
In 2020, the Health Promotion Agency launched the Quit Strong and the Vape to Quit Smoking campaigns. We need more campaigns like this and with greater reach. That means more funding to make it happen!