Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

More political momentum needed to achieve Smokefree 2025 goal

Wellington campus

Wednesday, 23 July 2014 11:24am

no smoking sign

New research published in the New Zealand Medical Journal by ASPIRE 2025 researchers suggests the Government’s goal to achieve a Smokefree New Zealand by 2025 may be failing to gather the political momentum needed to ensure it is achieved.

Analysis of political press releases and speeches from April 2010 through until December 2013 shows that, despite smokefree 2025 being a world-leading public health goal, politicians made only infrequent reference to the goal, a pattern that has changed little over time. The goal was first adopted by Government in 2011.

The exception is Associate Minister of Health and Maori Party Co-leader Tariana Turia who, with 40 mentions, accounted for 59% of all references to the goal. Health Minister Tony Ryall made two references.

ASPIRE 2025 Co-Director Professor Richard Edwards says robust political leadership from across the political spectrum is needed so that a world-leading goal with cross-party support is given high political priority and features prominently in political and public debate.

“We congratulate the government for its global leadership in adopting the Smokefree 2025 goal. However, even though eliminating tobacco smoking would likely be the most significant public health achievement of the 21st century - and achieving Smokefree Aotearoa by 2025 would be a world first - this study suggests it is not yet a high priority for politicians in New Zealand. We think it should be.

“A good start would be to include the goal within the Better Public Service goals, and for the government to develop and implement a whole-of-government strategy to ensure the goal is reached.”

For further information contact:

Professor Richard Edwards
Department of Public Health
University of Otago, Wellington
Tel: 64 4 918 5089
Email richard.edwards@otago.ac.nz

A list of Otago experts available for media comment is available elsewhere on this website.

Electronic addresses (including email accounts, instant messaging services, or telephone accounts) published on this page are for the sole purpose of contact with the individuals concerned, in their capacity as officers, employees or students of the University of Otago, or their respective organisation. Publication of any such electronic address is not to be taken as consent to receive unsolicited commercial electronic messages by the address holder.