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Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner is encouraging New Zealanders to help their friends and family quit smoking this World Smokefree Day.

“More than 5000 New Zealanders die of smoking-related illnesses each year. Nearly 1500 of those people die between the ages of 35 and 69, losing on average 23 years of life,” Ms Wagner says.

“Support and encouragement from loved ones can make the world of difference because smoking not only harms the health of the smoker but also the people around them.

“Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in New Zealand — responsible for a quarter of all cancer deaths — but second-hand smoke is also a serious and often underestimated health risk, especially for children.

“The Government is committed to making New Zealand smokefree by 2025 through a wide range of evidence-based interventions, including implementing standardised packaging, legalising e-cigarettes and broadening smokefree policies at the local and regional level.”

Ms Wagner is marking World Smokefree Day by celebrating the first anniversary of the extension of Hutt City’s Smokefree Outdoor Public Places Policy.

“Hutt City Council is leading the way with one of the most comprehensive smokefree outdoor public places policies in New Zealand,” Ms Wagner says.  

Its original smokefree policy — covering playgrounds and outdoor public swimming pool complexes — was extended to include parks, sports grounds, beaches, bus shelters, train stations, outdoor pavement dining areas, outdoor public areas around Council buildings and facilities, and all Council run and Council-funded events.

The Government also recently realigned tobacco control programmes to better reach smokers needing help to quit.

“Takiri Mai te Ata is one of the newly established services and the lead cessation provider in Wellington, Hutt Valley and Wairarapa. It’s getting real results for smokers, in particular Maori and Pacific women, using an integrated, holistic model of care,” Ms Wagner says.

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