Whanganui Tobacco Advisory Group's work underway
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17 March 2016
 
Whanganui has established a local Tobacco Control Advisory Group to provide leadership and strategic guidance for tobacco control and smoking cessation across the region. The group will also monitor progress against Whanganui District Health Board's (WDHB) Tobacco Control Plan.
 
The WDHB and other key organisations including Whanganui Regional Health Network, Te Oranganui Iwi Health Authority, and Whanganui District Council have established the group to tackle smoking prevalence and to see a faster reduction in smoking rates in our district, and to provide guidance for tobacco control.
 
Tobacco Control Advisory Group chair Dr John McMenamin says the work of the group will be instrumental in supporting progress towards the outcomes of the Tobacco Control Plan 2015-18 which contributes to the overarching national Smokefree 2025 goal.
 
"While we know around 1000 people in our region are giving up smoking each year, Whanganui still has a high smoking rate when compared nationally," Dr McMenamin says. "Because around 900 people are taking up smoking each year, the number of people smoking is not reducing as quickly as needed if we are to do our part in meeting the goal of Smokefree 2025."
 
In Whanganui, the age group with most smokers is between 20-39 years, with the highest uptake of smoking in the 20-25 year old group.
 
"We aim to ensure we have accessible and effective quit smoking services available to our communities with initiatives in place to prevent the uptake of smoking - especially for 20 to 25-year-old group.”
 
The Whanganui Tobacco Control Advisory Group is supporting the re-development of existing quit smoking services to ensure they work well together to reach the smoker groups that need them most. The group is driving a number of initiatives across the community to encourage and support smoke free environments in workplaces, marae, sporting facilities and other settings.
 
"Smoking cessation is all about improving the overall health of the community so we are aiming to help hundreds of smokers quit every year, and reduce the numbers of people starting - especially young adults in our region.”