District health boards are backing calls for rapid action on Aotearoa’s smokefree goals saying that otherwise Māori won’t get there for another 40 years.

New Zealand’s aspirational goal – announced a decade ago – aims to see smoking rates at less than 5 per cent by 2025 but the Government is yet to finalise its plan on how to get there as smoking related illnesses continue to kill thousands every year.

“We won’t get to a smokefree New Zealand unless we have a smokefree Māori population, and that won’t occur till 2060 at the current rates,” Nick Chamberlain, chief executive for Northland DHB and public health lead for the 20 health boards, said.

The number of quitters each year needed to quadruple to 60,000 people to reach the 2025 target, he said.

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