Smoking is idolised for our generation. It’s all you can smell in public areas. I think it’s cool that I don’t have to worry about my little brother or my little cousins buying it,” says 14-year-old Taleesha. 

Taleesha is one of several rangatahi who gave their whakaaro on being smokefree as part of a video series launched recently by hauora Māori partner Hāpai Te Hauora and supported by Te Aka Whai Ora.  

Rangatahi share their attitudes and thoughts of what a smokefree generation would look like for them, and their understanding of the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Act 2022 (also referred to as the smokefree generation legislation) which came into force on January 2023.  

The regulations restrict the sale of smoked tobacco products to a limited number of approved retail outlets and prohibit anyone from selling or supplying these products to people born on, or after, 1 January 2009.  

“Smoking is a powerful addiction. Multiple generations have been harmed by tobacco. We don’t think about how this product has been normalised as an activity passed from one family member to the next,” says Selah Hart, Maiaka Hapori Deputy Chief Executive Public and Population Health, Te Aka Whai Ora. 

“This legislation will help break this cycle for our future generations. It brings to fruition the past 20 years of work Māori and Pacific tobacco cessation community champions, like Hāpai Te Hauora and Tala Pasifika, have driven towards a Smokefree 2025.” 

Hāpai Te Hauora played a significant part in the public consultation prior to the passing of the Act, to give whānau an opportunity to have their say through the public submission process.  

“There was overwhelming support for a smokefree generation legislation from Māori and Pacific whānau, rangatahi and people who currently smoke or are on their own quit journey. Our communities are desperate for changes to be made that protect the health of their whānau,” says Jason Alexandar, Interim CEO of Hāpai Te Hauora. 

“This legislation will enable Aotearoa to protect tamariki from being addicted to this deadly product,” he says. 

Fourteen-year-old Belle Ray who took part in the video says, “It’s going to make our rangatahi a lot healthier, happier and make our next generation better.” 

Watch video here