Another 17,200 New Zealanders need to quit tobacco smoking each year until 2025 if the country is to reach its goal of having under five percent of the population smoking daily by then, according to a story by Amy Wiggins at nzherald.co.nz, citing the results of a new study.

The 17,200 figure is more than double the current quit rate, the study, published in Friday’s New Zealand Medical Journal, reported.

The research, headed by Professor Nick Wilson of the department of public health at Otago University’s Wellington campus, found the country was set to fall far short of the Smoke-free Aotearoa 2025 goal if the current trend continues.

It was estimated that, in line with the current trend, 17.4 percent of Māori and 7.2 percent of non-Māori people would be smoking in 2025.

To reach the 2025 target, it would be necessary to increase the number of long-term quitters by an average of 8,400 in the case of Māori and 8,800 in the case of non-Māori.

The authors estimated Quitline and funded face-to-face smoking cessation services helped 8,100 people quit each year – 2,000 Māori and 6,100 non-Māori.

That was 19 percent of the Māori quitters and 34 percent of the non-Māori quitters needed each year to reach the 2025 goal.

Based on these figures, the authors concluded that an unrealistically large increase in the use of cessation services would be needed to meet the target; so other strategies were needed.

They proposed the continuation of large tax increases on tobacco, extra funding for cessation services and advertising campaigns, and subsidies to help people switch to electronic cigarettes.

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