Source: Hāpai Te Hauora, 12 March 2018
A recent study has sought to understand smoking trends among
nurses and doctors in New Zealand and has identified disparities
between Māori and non-Māori healthcare workers. The Otago
University study, led by Professor Richard Edwards and colleagues,
found that by 2013 doctors and the majority of nursing sectors had
achieved the Smokefree 2025 goal of less than 5% smoking
prevalence. However, the smoking rate of Māori nurses in particular
"In public health we know that universalism in health policy and
the design of interventions can increase inequities," says Lance
Norman CEO of Hāpai Te Hauora. "If we look to the example of SUDI
prevention, when awareness campaigns were first established they
took a 'one size fits all' approach. This worked for non-Māori New
Zealanders, but actually entrenched disparities for Māori. We need
to remember these lessons in tobacco control if we are going to
achieve Smokefree 2025 for all New Zealanders."
"This study shows that smoking rates amongst Māori healthcare
providers is declining, but there are nevertheless inequities.
Ethnicity is not a marker for health- these disparities reflect the
lower economic and social conditions Māori are more likely to live
in- even healthcare workers."
It is widely recognised that Māori smoking cessation is a
substantial public health focus. However, these findings support
the call to sharpen the focus to specific groups like nurses who
suffer disproportionately, if real improvement is to be made.
Norman explains "Māori medical professionals are at the frontline
of primary healthcare so we need solid interventions for staff that
reflects our needs and aspirations".