At Healthy Families NZ, we know the importance of having spaces and places that support our health and wellbeing. Smokefree environments enable our communities to be healthy, liveable and family-friendly spaces. By reducing the harmful exposure to second-hand smoke, supporting smokers to quit, reducing the environmental impact of cigarette litter and providing an opportunity for healthy role modelling to our tamariki, we can support people to lead smokefree lives. Healthy Families Hutt Valley joined the movement for smokefree public places five years ago when smokefree policies were still a fairly new approach to curbing the harm from tobacco. Since then, the Healthy Families Hutt Valley team has played an active role in shifting the tobacco control system with progressive steps towards a Smokefree Hutt Valley. The collective vision by system partners, local government and communities was one where two cities benefited from smokefree and vapefree spaces and places. This vision was realised with Upper Hutt City Council and Hutt City Council now having two of the most comprehensive smokefree policies across Aotearoa. The Healthy Environment Approach, developed by Healthy Families South Auckland involves four simple health principles (one of which is ‘Champion smokefree, alcohol and drug free’) which are designed to be easy to implement and straightforward for communities who aspire to shift attitudes to start a culture change which considers and creates a healthy environment. Healthy Families Invercargill continues to be an active member of the Murihiku Smokefree Coalition, a collective of organisations working within the health sector and who are dedicated to creating a smokefree region. The Coalition recognises that working collaboratively is a strength and creates unique opportunities to shift the tobacco system. The Murihiku Smokefree Coalition have been leading local initiatives to curb the harm from tobacco, including increasing the number of smokefree spaces in Invercargill and gathering insights from rangatahi in the community around their attitudes towards vaping. The Rotorua Smokefree Partnership Group, which Healthy Families Rotorua is part of, reconvened for 2023 with a presentation to the group from health mentor and taonga puoro advocate, Sam Runga. Sam shared his story on how he could better manage his Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and the effects of smoking after completing Korowai Aroha Health Centre’s Whaimua respiratory programme and learning to play the kōauau (flute) and other Māori wind instruments. Across the Healthy Families NZ prevention initiative, our location teams are actively working alongside key influencers and local and central government to accelerate progress towards a smokefree future. This work supports and aligns to the Government’s Goal of a Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 and the implementation of the Smokefree Action Plan.
The true collective effort by our Healthy Families NZ kaimahi, local government, system partners and our communities is integral to the success of achieving a Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 and demonstrates the impact of collective action and influence.