'Saying it's a train wreck for Maori and Pasifika is an understatement' - Maori Public Health boss warns NZ can't hit 2025 Smokefree goal

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Health sector leaders have told politicians today there is no way the government's goal of being Smokefree by 2025 will be achieved.

The study found youngsters whose parents smoke can have nicotine levels so high they may as well be smokers.

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The chief executive for Maori Public Health Lance Norman told a combined Health and Maori Affairs Select Committee this morning: "We will not hit Smokefree 2025 New Zealand… categorically I'm saying that out the front".

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Mr Norman told the MPs that's because the rates of smoking remain stubbornly high.

He said 35 per cent of Maori smoke, 25 per cent of Pasifika and 12-13 per cent of all other ethnicities.

"The target is 5 per cent and we are nowhere near that.

"We are currently sitting at about 16 per cent for total population. But when you look at it by ethnicity saying it's a train wreck for Maori and Pasifika is an understatement."

The health leaders gave recommendations on how to lower the rate of smoking, which included making cigarettes illegal by 2025.

Mr Norman said there needed to be an "aggressive supply reduction strategy" which would require legislation to be passed now and cigarettes to be phased out. He suggested dairies should be the first to see them gone.

Some of the other suggestions included fast-tracking better access to vaping and e-cigarette products, and a public awareness campaign around smoking alternatives.

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