Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Any move to curb smoking should be supported, along with moves to fight obesity.

I support the latest move by the Counties Manukau Health to offer $300 worth of vouchers to pregnant mums as an incentive to stop smoking. The costs are more than made up for by the savings in medical expenses, both during the pregnancy and after. For those who say it is a waste of money, then perhaps the monetary benefits would be enough to sway their thinking.
The same could be said re efforts to change the ever-growing issue of obesity in our population. When figures of around 30% plus of our population falling into an 'over-weight, right through to morbidly obese categories,' it is worrying enough and has huge ramifications, both for the health of NZers and the costs on our health system. Combine effort re smoking cessation programmes with attaining healthier weights for NZers and we would make a significant dent in the overall costs to the tax payer. Smoking and 'over-eating' (and lack of knowledge about what constitutes, healthy eating) are fed by similar  stimuli, be it advertising, image or 'possible disorders' within the individual, related to inherent compulsions or additive type behaviours. A great deal more work needs to be done to address these two serious problems for our country.
 I do not condemn those who smoke or over eat. After all, I have been in that category for most of my adult life and it was only after a pretty dramatic intervention in the form of bariatric surgery that I finally felt I was winning and heading towards a healthier life-style. I wish there was a similar procedure for those choosing to stop smoking. We would all be the winners as Government funding could then be switched to other areas of concern for our beautiful country---like roads, public transport, regional development, just to name a few---or lower taxes for those who think purely in those terms.Good on you Counties Manukau Health!

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