The New Zealand Defence Force has announced plans to become one of the first smokefree militaries in the world.
At an event in Parliament hosted by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) New Zealand, marking World Smokefree Day today, the NZDF announced the bid to become smokefree by 2020.
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Source: 1 NEWS
An NZDF spokesperson told 1 NEWS NOW they are aiming to reduce the smoking rate of personnel from the current 10-12 per cent to less than five per cent, which will make it "smokefree" under the government's Smokefree 2025 definition.
Reaching the target will put the Defence Force five years ahead of the government's 2025 target, also making it one of the first militaries in the world to be officially smokefree.
Brigadier Andrew Gray, the Director of Defence Health, said the Royal New Zealand Air Force was already well on its way to achieving this target and achieving it across the entire Defence Force would bring significant benefits.
It would also be an important contribution to the Government's Smokefree 2025 goal.
"The NZDF is committed to the health of its people. A smokefree Defence Force will lead to significant health gains and improve people's quality of life both across NZDF and our wider Defence community," Brigadier Gray said.
To become smokefree by 2020 the NZDF plan to ban sales of cigarettes on camps and bases, making housing smokefree, which will all evolve to become smokefree environments.
"This is a huge milestone, the New Zealand Defence Force is one of the largest employers in New Zealand with over 14,000 personnel, and the biggest Government department to go smokefree," saod ASH Chair Robert Beaglehole.