Hāpai Te Hauora has engaged with communities most affected by smoking and asked the question: What does Smokefree mean to you? Between the 1st of May and the 31st of May - World Smokefree Day - Hāpai received a range of answers from families and workplaces that were willing to make and share short 20-60 second videos about the meaning of Smokefree.

This is what rangatahi (youth) and tamariki (children) said about what smokefree means to them:

"Living a long life, staying healthy and saving money"; "Protecting the health of your family and friends, having you around to make lasting memories with the people who love you."; "That we have fresh air to breathe and that Papatūānuku is healthy."; "It’s about putting our kids first and teaching them that smoking is not part of our whakapapa."; "It means having a good life."; "It means the future, the future of us young Pasifika people living in clean, healthy, safe environments, so we can be active and create those long lasting memories with our loved ones."; "Everyone is healthy and active, and that people’s lives would be longer."

Whānau (families) and community respondents said:

"Taking the opportunity to smoke away from my tamariki."; "So, we can be healthy, and safe and we want to be all happy."; "It’s about being happy and healthy and living in fresh air"; "I don’t want to be a slave no more. More money. We’re all smokefree. No more butts whānau!"; "You have to do it on your own, nobody’s going to help you."; "Prepare yourself for when you’re older, so that we don’t clog up the health system and retirement homes."; "A clean green and better future."; "That I’m fit and healthy, and able to play netball at a higher level."; "It means being healthy, being happy and being cool."

Public Health kaimahi (workers), academics and politicians smokefree said:

"Giving tamariki a healthier start in a smokefree whare and smokefree cars"; "There’s nothing more important than smokefree during pregnancies"; "I can spend more time with my whānau, and my kids can grow up healthy"; "That my mokopuna will never see me smoking"; "Kia whakatinana tia ko te ihi, ko te wehi, ko te wana me te hauora nō e te whānau"; "Our mokopuna role modelling health and wellbeing"; "A gift to the future. Prepare yourself a gift for the future."

Hāpai Te Hauora CEO Selah Hart and National Tobacco Control Advocacy Service (NTCAS) Kaiwhakahaere, Stephanie Erick want to thank everyone who sent in their thoughts and videos. Stephanie Erick says "It would be great to see community voices informing practical changes, like moving to end the sale of tobacco in communities that want it gone and providing funding for meaningful engagement that resonates with what whānau are saying."

Selah Hart says the responses gathered show that tamariki, rangatahi, whānau and kaimahi have clear ideas of what Smokefree means to them and including their strong voices in public health activities is important. "Let’s keep the focus on priority populations and keep raising awareness towards achieving the goal of all New Zealanders becoming smokefree by 2025."

A number of organisations sought community input into the smokefree future of Aotearoa for World Smokefree Day, including Smokefree South, Smokefree Otago Coalition and the Cancer Society. Hāpai would like to acknowledge their work, as well as the work of the many organisations, whānau and individuals assisting the people of Aotearoa to reach their smokefree goals.

To see the videos, go to www.tobaccocontrol.nz, and Te Ara Hā Ora and Kick Butt on Facebook.