At Healthy Families Whanganui, Rangitīkei, Whanganui, we know by choosing to be a smokefree nation, we are prioritising the health and wellbeing of every citizen of Aotearoa New Zealand. People will be healthier, there is less chance our children will smoke and breathe in second-hand smoke.
In 2021 we began a journey supported by Te Oranganui, Te Whatu Ora and the Tobacco Advisor Group to better understand whānau lived experiences, ideas and aspirations for a smokefree future. We were curious about the role communities can play in Whanganui becoming a smokefree rohe.
Our Smokefree Village was made up of current smokers, ex-smokers, and their whānau, health professionals, and quit smoking coaches. The Villagers were able to explore the journey of initiation into smoking as well as envisioning what a smokefree future would look like.
“This became a safe space for us to share more meaningfully, a place where I felt safe to be vulnerable, me and my whānau can be authentic and come up with the solutions together.”
“After the wānanga we talked the whole way home about it, how it’s been good for us to open up to each and reflect on our lives and influences growing up, and who might influence our kids. We said out of this we might actually give it all up (smoking, alcohol, gangs) and I said ‘yeah, I can see that’.”
Some of the key insights from the Smokefree Village include:
the most effective public health messaging has been translated to “it’s hard to quit smoking”. This has had a powerful impact on whānau.
the smoker’s mindset is different for wāhine to tāne. Wāhine use smoking as self-reward, stress relief, and respite. Whereas, tāne believe smoking is their rite of passage,
our rangatahi are taking up vaping younger and becoming addicted faster.
“It’s the headrush and the flavours we like. We all vape when we hang out, it helps us to be more social.”
“Smoking is a release when life feels like a pressure cooker.”
“When I think about quitting I doubt that I can do it. I have negative self-talk. ‘It’s too hard’ or, ‘I’m useless’.”
The Smokefree Future 2030 Insights Report is a culmination of 18 months of kōrero and design with the Village, resulting in a set of key insights and recommendations for the Health system. The report highlights the importance of iwi and whānau being actively engaged as partners in designing any future solutions – for Māori, by Māori, with Māori.
We thank our Smokefree Villagers for sharing their time, experience and ideas with us and each other, and a big mihi to Jackie, Te Oranganui Quit Coach, for encouraging whānau to participate in the Village, and for sharing her wisdom!
Visit our website or social media pages titled 'WHAKANUIA' to keep up to date with the locations we will be going to within the Whanganui, Rangitīkei, Ruapehu region, to share the insights and recommendations from this report.