New approach for Māori women to quit smoking

Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa welcomes a new report released today highlighting innovative ways of working with young Māori women to successfully quit smoking.

“It is seriously concerning that young Maori women, aged 18 to 24, have the highest rate of smoking in New Zealand and the Ministry of Health is working to address this as a priority,” says Jenny Salesa.

“This report evaluates four prototype initiatives working with young Māori women to quit smoking. It looks at some of the key reasons they start smoking and what makes it hard for them to stop.

“The evaluation shows that addressing some of the wider issues in these women’s lives was more helpful in getting them to stop smoking than emphasising smoking cessation as the most important goal.

“This ‘holistic wellbeing’ approach has had extraordinary results, which I have seen when visiting Turuki Healthcare in South Auckland. It has not only helped young Māori women to quit smoking – it has also had a much broader and positive impact on their lives and that of their children. 

“Focusing on the overall wellbeing of these young Māori women and their families – with respect to their culture, identity and ability to manage their daily lives – is vitally important in getting them to quit smoking. The one-size fits all approach does not work for everyone.

“These young Māori wahine also helped in co-designing the stop smoking service which meant it was truly responsive to what was going to work for them.

“This work will guide how we deliver stop smoking services in the future. It will also help in achieving greater equity in the health system, which is a key health priority for this Government.

“I would like to congratulate all those involved in these four initiatives. I hope that all stop-smoking services and the public take the time to learn from this excellent initiative,” says Jenny Salesa.