At a Wellington ceremony tinged with sadness, members of the Smokefree Coalition recently gathered to commemorate 20 years of fighting smoking in New Zealand while lamenting the loss of government funding that has forced it to close.
The Smokefree Coalition is also willing to take much of the credit for the government’s commitment to becoming a smokefree nation by 2025.
“It was our original Vision 2020 document, produced with the help of our members, that got the ball rolling for that commitment and it was our Smokefree Roadmap 2025 that laid out the pathway to achieve it,” chair Dr. Jan Pearson said.
The government announced last year it would cease all existing contracts in tobacco control and the Smokefree Coalition contract was not renewed under the new funding strategy. Pearson does not believe this was the right decision but says it is time to pass the mantle to the organizations that remain.