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Maori Leadership "Critical" To Reduce Smoking

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Maori Leadership "Critical" To Reduce Smoking

Wellington, Nov 26 NZPA - Maori leadership and Maori specific marketing is needed to reduce smoking among Maori, a study has found.

The research by carried out by Whakauae Research for Maori Health and Development and the University of Otago, Wellington, looked at senior Maori policymakers' and MPs' views on how to achieve progress on smokefree homes, cars and community property.

It will be published today in the New Zealand Medical Journal.

Lead researcher Dr Heather Gifford said policymakers thought indigenous approaches and leadership were critical for reducing smoking amongst Maori, with regulation by central and local government also playing a key role.

"We found a widespread view that policies aimed at reducing smoking amongst Maori need to be flexible enough take account of the specific social, political, historical and cultural differences. In that regard many believe that a whanau-focused programme is more effective than a focus on the individual."

Maori specific social marketing, which harnessed Maori values and health principles, particularly the health of children, was the preferred method for delivering effective messages on tobacco and smoking reduction, she said.

The study found tobacco control should be a major priority for the Government because of the high rates of smoking among Maori and the huge health impacts.

Some Maori policymakers advocated a total ban on tobacco products within a certain time-frame, Dr Gifford said.

A report, by Parliament's Maori affairs select committee, released on November 3 recommended strict measures aimed at halving smoking by 2015 and turning New Zealand into a smokefree nation by 2025. Measures included extending smoke-free areas to vehicles, banning vending machines and banning cigarette displays in shops.

The report supported Maori-led solutions to reduce high rates of smoking among Maori, which Dr Gifford applauded.

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