Smokefree by 2020 - that's the huge goal New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) announced today.
To mark World Smokefree Day (May 31), the announcement was made at an event in Parliament hosted by ASH New Zealand.
"By undertaking a conscious drive to create a smokefree force, the NZDF will also be setting a benchmark for other defence forces by becoming the first military to become smokefree," said Commander Karen Ward.
To help achieve their 2020 smokefree goal, the NZDF is planning several initiatives, including banning the sale of cigarettes on camps and bases, and making NZDF housing smokefree.
The NZDF will also evolve camps and bases into smokefree environments, and continue to promote and support smoking cessation and the benefits of a smokefree NZDF.
ASH Chair, Emeritus Professor Robert Beaglehole said this is a huge milestone. "The New Zealand Defence Force is one of the largest employers in New Zealand with over 14,000 personnel, and the biggest Government department to go smokefree."
He added, "ASH applauds the NZDF, not just for their commitment to the 2025 goal, but for showing the leadership to beat the goal by five years. We hope this decisive action can be an example to other government agencies and major employers of the type of leadership needed to reach Smokefree 2025."
ASH - Action for Smokefree New Zealand also relaunch at the event.
"The Government’s Smokefree 2025 goal came from an investigation into the tobacco industry by the Māori Affairs Select committee in 2011. That was six years ago, and there is still no government plan to achieve their goal. ASH is committing our resources to supporting all policymakers to set a strong, evidence based roadmap to get us to Smokefree 2025," explained Beaglehole.