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Letter | What does the 2025 Smokefree Goal mean to the New Zealand public?

The New Zealand government has committed to a goal of making New Zealand essentially a smokefree nation by 2025. While research indicates strong public support for this goal, studies have not explored public understanding of what the
2025 goal might entail.

In this letter to the New Zealand Medical Journal, ASPIRE2025 researchers discuss findings of an online survey of 833 smokers and non-smokers which tested the New Zealand public’s support for the 2025 goal when this was presented as an unexplained concept and when presented with a definition.

The  findings have two important implications; first, they suggest greater knowledge of the 2025 goal translates into stronger support. Second, they reveal considerable misunderstanding of the goal itself, which is likely to stimulate reactance and opposition, particularly among smokers, half of whom interpreted the goal as amounting to a total ban on smoking or the sale of tobacco. Furthermore, the most common interpretation was that smoking would not be allowed in any public place by 2025, a perception that is also not set out in the goal.

The letter includes three suggested responses to the findings.

  1. A comprehensive mass media campaign promoting understanding and uptake of the 2025 goal,
  2. Cessation support must become more widely available,
  3. The government must articulate and endorse the goal it set, and should give it a
    high political priority.

The full letter can be viewed here (password required until June 2015)

For further infomation or a copy of the letter, please contact:

Professor Philip Gendall
University of Otago


Gendall, P., Hoek, J, Edwards, R. (2014) What Does the 2025 Goal Mean to the New Zealand Public? New Zealand Medical Journal Vol 127 No 1406


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