New Zealand Herald.Monday July 09, 2007, Perspectives page
For Sale on Trade Me: One Smokefree gear
bag, several T-shirts spanning 14 years of Smokefree/AuahiKore campaigns, and a Nicorette
parka from a day's sailing on the Maxi Yacht when it used to be sponsored
And the reason I've
had to change jobs and get a new wardrobe? I had a kid. Tiraha, my daughter, is 2½ now, and Hone Harawira's
TOA (Tobacco Out of Aotearoa) dream to end the
import and sale of all tobacco products is not going to happen quickly
Tiraha's world is pretty much smokefree now - except for The Warehouse Extra staff
huddled out the back of Sylvia Park shopping centre, smoking in the carparks.
Tiraha hasn't asked me yet what it
is these people are doing. She doesn't see smoking on Playhouse TV. None
of her daycare staff smoke, which is why she goes there rather than to a kohangareo.
There's only one
aunty in our immediate whanau who smokes and
when she visits she wears a nicotine patch to minimise
the number of times she goes outside.
I don't want this
smoking-doesn't-exist lifestyle shattered by smokefree
interventions aimed at Tiraha through
pre-school, primary or even intermediate.
I wish now we hadn't
pushed the smokers outside to smoke in public in front of children, like
the many teachers, who nonchalantly take their coffee and cigarette out
to the school entrance to get their fix. And people think smoking by kids
I've just attended a
two-day think tank on what we should do next to reduce smoking. There's a
lot of support for the phasing out of tobacco, which is great. But what's
to be done for people who cannot break their addiction?
Some of my colleagues
think we should encourage existing smokers to switch to snuff (available
in nasal and oral forms) which is less dangerous to their health than
But we'd have change
the Smokefree Environments Act (1990), which
bans the sale of the more attractive oral snuff products like Sweden's Snus.
As always, we need
the tax on tobacco to be raised to make tobacco products less affordable
and my colleagues want a lot more advertising on television.
I was once wary of
introducing a wider range of highly addictive tobacco products for young
people to get hooked on, but now support smokeless products. These will
eradicate the secondhand smoke issue. So let's do it.
As for more mass
media, I don't want Tiraha seeing anything
related to smoking, be it tobacco products decorating the wall behind the
man in the dairy who sells her an ice block, or an ad on TV put out by
the so-called "anti-smoking" lobby.
Like the recent ad
that said, "If you have to, you can smoke as long as you take it
outside." I bet the boys at British American Tobacco loved that one.
Well, sorry. It's not
okay if you smoke around or in front of me and my girl. Go back into your
house, or your car, or your toilet, and smoke there.
I don't want her to
see people smoking, snuffing, snusing, sharing
their flavoured nicotine gum or flouting their
patterned, coloured nicotine patch.
You can take your
"Smokefree" this and "Quit"
that off TV and put them out of sight, too. Keep the advertising for
nicotine addicts on their cigarette or snuff packets, or use direct
The only messages
from the past 15 years of campaigns promoting smokefree
that I'd be happy to see promoted are ones that promote healthy whanau like the old and forgotten, "The only
thing you should light up around them is their eyes."
In our whanau, smoking is a thing of the past, and I don't
want some well-meaning health promotion person making it a thing of our
* Dr Marewa Glover is director of the Auckland Tobacco
Control Research Centre at the University of Auckland's School of Population Health.
Dr Murray Laugesen QSO chair; Prof Ross McCormick, Sir John Scott KBE, Trish
Fraser MPH, Dr Marewa Glover, Trustees