6 Oct 2015

Ngāpuhi leads iwi in smoking rate drop

8:50 am on 6 October 2015

Ngāpuhi has recorded the biggest drop in smokers in a comparison of smoking rates by iwi.

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Between 2006 and 2013, the number of the iwi's members that smoked dropped nearly 10 percent. Photo: 123rf.com

A breakdown of census figures shows a 9.9 percent drop in regular smoker numbers in the country's largest iwi between 2006 and 2013, with Ngāti Tūwharetoa and Tūhoe following closely behind.

National Māori Tobacco Control Leadership Service manager Zoe Martin-Hawke

Zoe Martin-Hawke Photo: Hāpai Te Hauora

The breakdown was compiled by Action on Smoking and Health and Te Ara Hā Ora, the National Maori Tobacco Control Leadership Service.

The service's manager, Zoe Martin-Hawke, said stop-smoking services were working together in the North.

"To ensure that one, whānau know that there are services out there, and two, they're supporting strategies as in policy development like local councils, smokefree areas, plain packaging, just raising the awareness of what smoking is doing to us.

"If you look at Northland, previously retailers that sold smokes, 19 of them have stopped, and that's because of the work the community is doing, health providers are doing, iwi are doing to talk to retailers about what selling smokes does to our people."

The figures showed a smoking decrease of around 9 to 10 percent across all iwi.

However, the average smoking rate for Māori is 32.7 percent, more than double the rate for the general population of 15 percent.

Iwi with the smallest numbers of regular smokers include Ngāi Tahu and Ngāpuhi.

Iwi including Tūhoe, Waikato, and Ngāti Tūwharetoa sit above the average rate for Māori.

The number of Māori who identify as never having smoked has increased across iwi from 2006 to 2013.

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