Source: Radio New Zealand, 22 August 2017
A study has found the Quitline smoking service is having three
times greater health benefits for Māori than non-Māori.
The Ministry of Social Development's social report in 2016
showed Māori had the highest proportion of smokers of any ethnic
It showed 40 percent of Māori adults were smokers, compared with
17 percent of Pākehā and just 7 percent of people of Asian
However, University of Otago researcher Nick Wilson said
study showed the Quitline service had helped to reduce
health inequities for Māori.
He said Māori had three times greater per captia health gains
from the service compared to non-Māori.
"Quitline has worked to make itself culturally appropriate and
has Māori staff and responders who can speak te reo."
"In fact, Māori smokers have higher rates of using Quitline than
Mr Wilson said a year of running Quitline had produced just over
4000 extra years of healthy life across the entire population.
"The reality is probably even more favourable for health gain
since the modelling only covered the 16 most important
tobacco-related diseases, and many more diseases are related to
He said about 15 percent of the entire New Zealand population
were smokers, but this number was declining each year.
"If the government was bold and wanted to really make progress
in this area it would actually do more to increase tobacco tax and
develop tobacco-endgame interventions."
He said the speed at which the smoking prevalence is going down
was not fast enough to get to the 2025 goal with the current range
of measures in place.
He also believed the goal of seeing less than 5 percent of the
population smoking could be achieved if there was more urgency from
"In some areas we are really falling behind other countries -
there are many places in the world that have laws to ban smoking in
cars with children and the government has repeatedly failed to
introduce those types of obvious ways to protect child health.
"Many countries have much better outdoor smokefree areas than
"In the United States you can't smoke in the outside eating area
of a bar or a restaurant, whereas in New Zeland that is still a
serious place where exposure to secondhand smoking occurs."
Mr Wilson said some of these measures might become more
effective as e-cigarettes became a more viable alternative,
particularly if higher tobacco taxes made e-cigarettes a far