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Cancer Society mounts new campaign reminding Government of Smokefree goal

The Cancer Society of New Zealand has launched a new campaign to remind New Zealanders of our heroic Smokefree journey and commitment to our Smokefree goal.

The campaign centres on a visual created by editorial cartoonist and illustrator Jeff Bell that depicts New Zealand’s ambitious goal of Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 represented by a mountain. It shows a kiwi, tui, kākāpō and pūteketeke ascending it, ready to stake a Smokefree flag when they reach the summit.

“They say a picture paints a thousand words,” says Cancer Society Chief Executive Dr Rachael Hart, “and we are stoked to have Jeff bring to life a striking cartoon to remind us of our collective goal. That peak is achieving a Smokefree Aotearoa for all New Zealanders.

“The birds are close to the summit because New Zealand has a long, proud Smokefree journey and we have come a long way. However, we haven’t made it yet, and some of us are further behind than others. We need bold and brave action to stay on track and achieve our goal.”

The Cancer Society hopes politicians will hear this message loud and clear through a postcard sent to all Members of Parliament and displayed on outdoor advertising around the Beehive, featuring the feathered mountain-climbing party.

The campaign is in response to the Government’s plans to repeal the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Act (SERPA).

“The National Party has promised New Zealanders action that will get us ‘back on track’,” says Dr Hart. “We already had a track to achieve a Smokefree Aotearoa with SERPA. We are asking the Government, ‘If not SERPA, what will you do to get us on track to that goal?’”

Dr Hart says the Cancer Society wants to see a future free from cancers caused by tobacco and believes a “business as usual” approach will not get all New Zealanders to Smokefree 2025.

“Interventions that focus mainly on individuals, such as offering cessation support, are important but will not achieve a Smokefree Aotearoa on their own. We need bold and brave measures that make tobacco less available, less addictive and that protect future generations from the harm caused by this deadly product.”

Mr Bell says he was happy to be involved in this project with the Cancer Society as it was a topic “close to his heart”.

“I lost my mum to a smoking-related illness last year, so I’m aware of the pain and sense of loss that smoking causes many families.

“I thought climbing an alpine mountain was a strong metaphor. We’ve got a history of leading from the front in New Zealand, and I think a stronger commitment to Smokefree Aotearoa is such a worthwhile goal.”

 

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