Smokefree Aoteoroa 2025 - fairness matters

ASH Chair, Emeritus Professor, Robert Beaglehole, presented at the University of Auckland, School of Population Health - Head of School Seminar Series on 2 November 2021.

Aotearoa New Zealand has made considerable progress in reducing the health burden caused by cigarette smoking. Despite falling death rates from smoking, there are still about 5,000 preventable smoking deaths each year. Most of the success has been achieved by the more privileged members of society. The poor have been left behind with inequalities in smoking rates unchanged over the last decade. Almost one-third of the life expectancy gap between Māori and Pākehā is due to cigarette smoking. The prevention of youth smoking has been remarkably successful. The key public health challenge is to reduce the burden of smoking in adults by supporting adult smokers to quit. Three simple actions will ensure that the tobacco harm reduction strategy will achieve this goal without further punishing people who smoke: targeted mass media campaigns to encourage quitting; financial support for community-based cessation initiatives; and much greater support for vaping. Fairer progress towards the Smokefree Aotearoa2025 goal is within reach.

To listen to the presentation, click HERE

Robert is an independent public health physician. He trained in medicine, epidemiology and public health. He worked at the University of Auckland for 20 years and then for WHO, Geneva. He is an Emeritus Professor of the University of Auckland and chairs the Board of ASH – Action for Smokefree Aotearoa