Morgan Tait

Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's consumer affairs reporter.

Hospital smokers targeted

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A stand needs to be taken to stop patients being wheeled outside Hawke's Bay Hospital buildings to smoke if the region is to become smokefree by 2025, say Hawke's Bay District Health Board members.

Discussion after a presentation at yesterday's board meeting centred around what the health authority was doing to set an example for a smokefree environment.

A plan outlining the first stages of the "Smokefree Hawke's Bay by 2025" was yesterday adopted by the board.

Chairman Kevin Atkinson asked other members why it was okay for patients, sometimes in wheelchairs and attached to drips, to be sitting outside the front doors smoking.

"Why do we condone patients being wheeled down to our entrances and to sit there smoking? As a DHB, how are we going to make a stand the same way our iwi has made on their marae?"

Senior population health adviser Ana Apatu, who made the presentation, said leadership started with staff.

Staff were expected to tell patients not to smoke in hospital grounds and it was against protocol for staff to smoke while in uniform or while representing the DHB.

Mrs Apatu said the region was on its way to achieving the "aspirational" goal.

Smokefree would mean more than 95 per cent of the population did not smoke and tobacco would be difficult to sell and purchase.

The first steps, in the three years to 2015, included targeting smokers - especially pregnant women - at primary health level; marketing quit services, educating children and using business and Maori leaders in a "whole community approach".

"Being tobacco-free is also the single [best] thing we can do to reduce disparities and inequalities and improve Maori health," Mrs Apatu said.

"We are seeing amazing results with the ASH programme, that shows the Year 10 'never smoked' rate is increasing and that's really exciting.

"We believe the Ngati Kahungunu leadership is really invaluable, we are very fortunate to have an iwi as dedicated to smokefree."


TIME TO QUIT



  • Tobacco is the single largest preventable cause of illness and early death.


  • Addiction to tobacco is a chronic and relapsing condition.


  • Exposure to first, second and third-hand smoke has negative effects on neonatal, newborn and infant health.


  • Reducing tobacco use is the best opportunity to reduce health inequalities between population groups.


  • Call the Quitline on 0800 778 778 or visit www.quit.org.nz.


- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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