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Equivalent To Te Kuiti Wiped Out By Smoking Deaths

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

6 April 2009 - The equivalent of a settlement the size of Te Kuiti is wiped out every year because of smoking, says Waikato District Health Board health promoter Kerri Huaki.

She is talking about Face the Facts, part of the Ministry of Health's ongoing tobacco control programme in the form of a series of messages to inform and educate the public about health risks associated with smoking.

The first fact being highlighted is that 5000 New Zealanders die annually from smoking.

"Five thousand is such a big number that it's hard to comprehend. But to put it into context, 4520 people live in Te Kuiti, so 5000 deaths is the equivalent of losing everyone in Te Kuiti and more, every year," said Ms Huaki.

"And the really shocking thing is; these deaths are preventable. We live in a developed country, yet we still watch 5000 people die needlessly from tobacco use each year. How have we let this happen?"

Face the Facts will present a range of smoking facts over the coming months to communicate the truth about tobacco and the effects of smoking, not only for the individual but also for families and the community.

Ms Huaki said she hopes Face the Facts will bring home to the people of Waikato the stark reality of the illness and death caused by smoking

"Half of continuing smokers will die early from smoking. Those are terrible odds. In the Waikato District Health Board area, that equates to about 40,115 people if we look at current smoking statistics.

"This is a huge loss to many families and to our community in general. Quitting smoking isn't easy, but it could save your life."

Face the Facts has been developed by the Health Sponsorship Council in conjunction with the Ministry of Heath.

It has the support of major health organisations in New Zealand.

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