Throughout November, Te Aka Whai Ora is recognising Lung Cancer Awareness Month by emphasising the importance of prevention and support for those whānau impacted by lung cancer.

Selah Hart, Maiaka Hāpori Deputy Chief Executive Public and Population Health, Te Aka Whai Ora says that the poor statistics tell a story that can’t be ignored.  

“Most people aren’t aware that every year in Aotearoa, more people die of lung cancer than of breast cancer, prostate cancer and melanoma combined,” says Selah.

“Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer deaths for Māori and collective action is needed towards improving not only the higher incidence rates of lung cancer for Māori, but also the significant mortality rates.”

With 80% of lung cancer caused by smoking, Te Aka Whai Ora is working in partnership with Te Whatu Ora on a number of campaigns including Breakfree to Smokefree which takes a disruptive approach to impact the remaining pockets of smokers who have not yet been influenced to quit.

“To really make a difference, we must confront the impact of smoking - a leading contributor for lung cancer. This is not just a health issue, it’s a call to action for a smokefree Aotearoa.”

“Globally, Aotearoa is leading the way to drive legislative changes that make a difference towards a healthier generation that is smokefree.”

Under the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Act, legislative changes will include reducing the supply of tobacco available in our communities through retailers by 1 July 2024, restricting nicotine levels in tobacco products by 1 April 2025, and from January 2027, rangatahi will lead our smokefree generation with retailers not being able to sell tobacco products to anyone born on or after 1 January 2009.

“We are resolute in our commitment to help continue to strengthen existing legislation aimed at reducing the appeal, availability and addictiveness of tobacco products so we can create an environment for whānau that supports them to quit.”

For more information and services to support you and your whānau on your quit journey, visit the Breakfree to Smokefree webpage.