Misunderstanding can be a barrier to achieving the Smoke Free 2025 goal


A lack of understanding of the goals of New Zealand’s 2025 smoke-free goal – 10 years after it was announced – could be an obstacle to achieving that goal, according to a recent study by the University of Otago.

Professor Janet Hoek.

In a letter published in the New Zealand Medical Journal last week, study co-authors Professor Janet Hoek, Ivana Barbalich, and Professor Richard Edwards, University of Otago, and Associate Professor Coral Gartner of the University of Queensland pointed out the confusion. around the government goal.

The government adopted the 2025 smoke-free target for New Zealand in 2011. Its ultimate goal is for less than 5% of the population to smoke by 2025. However, three years after the target was announced, a investigation revealed a widespread misunderstanding of its intention. Once the goal was explained to survey respondents, support increased, leading to calls for an urgent and comprehensive campaign.

But Professor Hoek says that hasn’t happened, and now 10 years later, a recent study reveals that a misunderstanding remains.

Late last year, the group conducted in-depth interviews with 20 daily smokers aged 21 to 53, who were earning less than the median income. Most did not know what the target meant, and many mistakenly believed that sales of tobacco products would end in 2025. However, like the 2014 survey, support for the target increased. once its purpose has been explained.

“The confusion arose because there has never been a national action plan designed to achieve the 2025 target and there has been no clear communication strategy to ensure that people understand what the objective means and its rationale. In the absence of a clear communication strategy, people develop varied interpretations of the goal, some of which are not correct, ”says Professor Hoek.

“These misunderstandings can raise concerns and even reduce support for some of the important actions proposed.

“Apart from the main Maori politicians, no politician has championed the goal or worked to make it a mainstream aspiration. It’s a huge missed opportunity; the goal enjoys very high support among non-smokers; even people who smoke, and who will be affected by many potential new policy measures, are supporting the development of a country with very low smoking prevalence. Providing better understanding after the initial goal announcement could have improved acceptance of the goal and encouraged and supported people who smoke to quit. “

Achieving this goal requires a broad understanding of the changes that will occur, knowledge of the support that will be available to help people quit smoking, and an environment where tobacco products are no longer addictive, are sold in all areas. convenience stores and able to use flavors and other features. to make addiction easier and to quit harder, says Professor Hoek.

“If people interpret the goal as a ban on tobacco or a ban on smoking, the opposition is likely to be stronger and there could be reactance. Making sure people understand what the goal means and the changes that will be introduced will encourage many people who smoke and want to quit to give it a try.

Publication details

A qualitative analysis of how people who smoke and manage low incomes perceive the Smoke Free 2025 goal

Janet Hoek, Ivana Barbalich, Richard Edwards, Coral Gartner

New Zealand Medical Journal

/ Public publication. This material is from the original organization and may be ad hoc in nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View full here.

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