Smokefree project launched

Pania Tulia, of Dunedin, at the launch of the the Smoking Affects Lives Pasifika project at Burns Hall last night. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Pania Tulia, of Dunedin, at the launch of the the Smoking Affects Lives Pasifika project at Burns Hall last night. Photo by Peter McIntosh.

Pacific people talked through tears about tobacco addiction at the launch of a smokefree project in Dunedin last night.

More than 50 people attended the launch of Smoking Affects Lives Pasifika at Burns Hall.

The project - run by the Southern District Health Board, Pacific Trust Otago and the Samoan Advisory Council - is designed to encourage smokers to quit by telling the story of 12 Pacific people in Otago who had battled tobacco addiction.

Social worker Pania Tulia said she started smoking when she was 13 years old and had been smokefree since January 2012. She quit for her children, her own health and to save money.

Pacific people stood up and urged husbands to quit, thanked fathers for quitting and talked through tears about their struggle with addiction and enjoying a more active smokefree life.

Board health promotion adviser Joanne Lee said tobacco-related diseases such as heart disease, lung cancer and stroke were some of the largest killers of Pacific people.

The census data from last year revealed 23.2% of Pacific Island people smoked tobacco, which was an ''encouraging'' reduction from the 30.3% who smoked in 2006, she said.

- shawn.mcavinue@odt.co.nz

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