“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.” Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

a smokefree world

World Smokefree day is May 31. If you are a smoker, please consider ending this disgusting habit. I work at the hospital, and the entire grounds are smokefree. People frequently go to smoke at the street corner entry of the hospital, right by the front entrance. As you can see from the photos, the result of this policy is a nasty mess of of discarded cigarette butts. I don't know why people refuse to pick them up and put them in a trash can. And I also don't understand why the hospital allows this trash to persist. There are numerous posts and signs saying "smokefree", and yet I still see people smoking on the grounds. As a hospital employee, if I were a smoker wanting to quit, I could get the nicotine quit patches at a deeply discounted rate. Smoking in New Zealand varyies by ethnicity and socioeconomic group. From Cancer Society New Zealand:

Lung cancer was the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Maori males and the second most common among Maori females during 1996-2001. It was the leading cause of cancer death among Maori males and females. On average, 240 Maori were diagnosed with lung cancer each year, and 228 Maori died from this disease. The incidence of lung cancer among maori was over three times that of non-maori. Maori men had the highest rates, followed by Maori women. (Wellington School of Medical and Health Sciences, 2006)
Maori lung cancer mortality rates are three times higher than non-Maori rates (Ministry of Health, 2003a)
An estimated 31% of Maori deaths are attributable to tobacco smoking (Laugesen, 1998)
At least one-third of the shorter life expectancy of those living in the most deprived areas is accounted for by smoking (Ministry of Health. 2001)
There are considerable ethnic differences in smoking rates with Maori (Male: 39.5%, Female: 47.6%) and Pacific Peoples (Male: 32.0%, Female: 22.4%) considerably more likely to smoke than European New Zealanders (Male: 22.6, Female: 19.5%) (Ministry of Health, 2005)
There are considerable socio-economic differences in smoking rates with beneficiaries (Male: 46.3%, Female: 47%) and blue collar workers (Male: 32.9%, Female: 33%) are considerably more likely to smoke than white collar workers (Male: 18.9%, Female: 20.2%) (Ministry of Health, 2005)

This is why the government started putting these gross photos on all the cigarette packs, in both English and Maori. According to this article, it appears to be increasing the number of calls to the Quitline.

Actually the one on the right looks to be a man's belly- weird. For the record, I found these two packs lying on the ground and picked them up. Into the trash now. I expect that NZ is soon going to outlaw the display of cigarettes. Check out this article for more details.

I'm really happy with the NZ government for making the Morning After Pill, or emergency contraception, available in Auckland for free on a trial basis. NZ has a high teen pregnancy level, and they are testing this strategy as a means to lower that level. Of course a woman of any age can take advantage of this. They don't even need to see a doctor, they just go see the pharmacist and ask for it.

The farm drive got put in on Tuesday this week. There's going to be gravel put on it eventually.

Our friends Adam and Roberta had a Cinco de Mayo party a couple weeks ago, and last week was our friends Shane and Vicki's curry cookoff. There were about 6 different curries there, including goat. My contribution was Thai red curry (made from scratch) with snapper. In the blind voting, I won the prize for best curry, a yellow stuffed mouse toy. Now I have to host the next cookoff, and have chosen chili. We'll have to recycle this award.