New Zealand’s decision to scrap anti-smoking legislation will do immeasurable harm

Amohia Boulton, research centre director at Whakauae Research for Māori Health and Development in New Zealand, discusses the negative impact of repealing smoke-free legislation on Māori health outcomes. Smoking is a major problem in New Zealand, causing 13 deaths daily, with Māori suffering disproportionately. While smoking rates have decreased, Māori adult smoking rates are still three times higher than those of European adults. The repeal of anti-smoking legislation, which aimed to reduce the number of retailers selling tobacco and create a smoke-free generation, is seen as a devastating setback for public health efforts and will increase health inequalities for Māori. The government’s focus on promoting vaping as an alternative is not supported by Māori leaders due to its unknown long-term effects and increasing popularity among young people.

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