dr Miriam Stoppard talks about New Zealand’s plans to create a smoke-free generation and how a novel technique she was researching in Singapore got parents to quit
We know the dangers, but seven million people still smoke in the UK. The Government wants England to be smoke-free by 2030 – but getting there will require some new thinking.
I was in Singapore when the government was trying to make it a smoke free island. I was filming my TV series Where There’s Life and I was investigating if that could really make the whole nation quit.
Authorities had relied on one compelling agency to drive change: children. At school they were taught to say to their parents when lighting themselves, “Squeak!” accompanied by a jabbing action with a finger, and “I don’t want you to die!”
It certainly helped – and Singapore has been smoke-free in most public places since the late 1990s.
New Zealand is taking action now – but it’s not easy.
This year, The Lancet reports, New Zealand will embark on its bold plan to make the country smoke-free by 2025.
They aim for a “smoke-free generation,” meaning anyone born on or after January 1, 2009 will be banned from buying tobacco products. Critics say it could backfire, make the smoking ban glamorous and alluring, or fuel a black market.
Malaysia, like Denmark, has announced plans to introduce its own smoke-free generation. Smokers’ rights advocates have condemned this as an assault on liberties, and it raises the uncomfortable possibility that some adults will be banned from buying tobacco while others, slightly older adults, will not. New Zealand’s plan has three main components: the smoke-free generation, a 95 percent reduction in the number of shops allowed to sell tobacco products, and low-nicotine products. It also encourages vaping as a harm reduction measure. Not everyone is convinced.
“What you want from a legal system is equality,” said Brendan Gogarty, associate professor of law at Monash University in Melbourne.
“We know that bans usually don’t work. It didn’t work when we tried the alcohol ban. It created a really strong organized crime network that took generations to break.”
But advocate Richard Edwards, a professor in the Department of Public Health at the University of Otago in New Zealand, says: “You will have a lot less incentive to continue smoking and more incentive to stop smoking.
“We think it will make a big difference. It takes cigarette smoking off the agenda for a generation.
“This plan says we’re going to get it to zero or as close to zero as we can, and we’re going to do it quickly. Smoking is not required. It kills millions of people.”
We will see…
https://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/the-whole-uk-can-quit-27282581 "The whole of Britain can quit smoking for good - but only if you think outside the box" - Miriam Stoppard