Smoking will be reduced to under 5% of the population in the Pacific by 2025 says a Public Health Officer.
Non-communicable diseases health officer with the Pacific Community, Solene Bertrand, says in Wallis and Futuna alone over half the population smoke.
Solene Bertrand spoke to Lucy Smith about why people start smoking, and how they're going to reduce the statistics.
SOLENE BERTRAND: It's really affordable to buy tobacco and you can buy it by unit
LUCY SMITH: You've got some of the highest rates in the world for smoking, how can you reduce that? Do you think just education will stop that?
SB: We need to work on everything we need to target the younger population to try and tell them it's not good to smoke
LS: Do you think if people are role models it causes people to smoke?
SB: Yes and when they are doing cultural things for example they offer cigarettes with beverage to the king when they have a celebration or ceremony like that so we need to change it. It's not a good gift to give to people.
LS: We've just had some stuff out in New Zealand about plain packaging do you think that could help?
SB: Australia were the first country to do that a few years ago, and we need to have a look at what they've done, and if there is good reason for that. I know that in Paris they are doing this they will introduce this in France. So it will be soon available in the french areas in the pacific. So i think it's a good thing yes.
LS: The statistic that you guys have given is that you want 5 % to be smoking in 2025 in the region, that's quite ambitious isn't it?
SB: Yes it is and that's why we really need to work with young people they have to don't start smoking because once they do it's really hard to stop.
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