13 Jun 2013

Call for urgent action on Pacific smoking

11:26 am on 13 June 2013

A national smokefree agency is calling for a massive boost to efforts to reduce smoking among Pacific people.

One in four Pacific adults is a smoker and Tala Pasifika says if that trend continues Pacific communities won't meet the national smokefree target in 2025.

Programme manager Stephanie Erick says 35,000 Pacific smokers need to get off cigarettes in Counties Manukau alone in the next five years.

She says the Ministry of Health needs to shift its focus from individual smokers to getting whole families and church congregations to quit.

The ministry's director for Pacific health, Hilda Fa'asalele, says an extra $20 million will be spent over the next four years to reduce smoking among Pacific people, Maori, pregnant women and young people and a media campaign targeting Pacific and Maori youth will be launched next year.