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May 28, 2012 | by  | in Opinion |
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Student Health

INTERNATIONAL SMOKE FREE DAY THURSDAY 31ST MAY

If you are a smoker the BEST thing that you can do for your health is to stop smoking. Stopping smoking for many people, including students, would also probably be the best thing they could do for their financial health too. Smoking a pack a day costs more than $5,000 a year.

I recently attended a course about how to support people to stop smoking. The presenter told us that the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that in the year 2000, one in every six deaths worldwide was caused by cigarette smoking. I thought that was a terrible statistic. I was really shocked to learn that by the year 2030, the WHO estimates that one in every three deaths worldwide will be due to smoking and that 70 per cent of these deaths will be in developing countries.

We are so fortunate to be living in New Zealand. Unlike some countries where tobacco companies are government owned, or where there is no control on the sale and use of tobacco and people including children are encouraged to smoke, our government is supporting the implementation of Smokefree Auahi Kore Aotearoa New Zealand by the year 2025. We are the first country in the world to be actively working towards this goal.

Our nearest rival is Finland, where they are aiming to be Smokefree by 2040. The vision of a Smokefree New Zealand is something to be very proud of. We are going to show the world that in New Zealand smoking is definitely not our future.

Before the year 2025 we have some work to do. Currently one in five people in New Zealand smoke, and approximately 5,000 people a year–or 13 people a day die–from smoking related diseases. Smoking rates are highest amongst Māori women (49 per cent) Māori men (40 per cent),Pasifika women (29 per cent) and Pasifika men (23 per cent). However, positive changes are happening. In 2003 the smoking rate for the general population was 25 per cent. There is very encouraging news with the number of young people aged 14 -15 years who have never smoked increasing from 33 per cent in 2000 to 71 per cent in 2011.

Stopping smoking at any age is beneficial and not only increases life expectancy; but it also improves quality of life. The health benefits of stopping smoking start within a few hours. The most effective method of successfully stopping smoking is a combination of support and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) such as patches, gum and lozenges.

Support and prescriptions for NRT are available at the Student Health Service (SHS) and also via

  • ▴ Quitline 0800 778 778 www.quit.org. nz or text 3111
  • ▴ Aukati KaiPaipa 0800 926 257 for a free face to face service www. aukatikaipaipa.co.nz
  • ▴ Pacific Smoking Cessation 04 237 8422 for a free face to face service

The SHS is celebrating International Smokefree Day on Thursday 31st May. We will have an information table in the foyer of the Student Union Building from 12. We will have alot of resources including stickers, no smoking signs and booklets. We will also be available to provide support and information about smoking cessation options in the Wellington Region, including having health workers visit your home or flat to talk with you about how to stop smoking. Stopping smoking can be difficult and it may take several attempts before a person is able to stop completely but it can be done.

The vision is a Smokefree Auahi Kore Aotearoa New Zealand by the year 2025 and the Student Health Service at Victoria is working to help make this happen.

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