Journal of Professional Nursing

Maori Women’s Views on Smoking Cessation Initiatives

Carole Fernandez, RN, MN, Health Manager, Best Care (Whakapai Hauora) Charitable Trust, Palmerston North 
Denise Wilson, RN, PhD, Senior Lecturer in Nursing (Maori Health), Massey University – Auckland, Tainui Awhiro, Ngati Tahinga

Reference:  Fernandez, C., & Wilson, D. (2008). Maori women’s views on smoking cessation initiatives. Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, 24(2), 27-40.     


Smoking is particularly prevalent among Maori women over the age of 15 years and remains a concern despite anti-smoking campaigns. This raises questions about the effectiveness of current smoking cessation initiatives as mainstream tobacco control programmes have not benefited Maori to the same extent as non-Maori. Limited research is available on the effectiveness of smoking cessation initiatives for Maori. In this descriptive qualitative study five Maori women who had ceased smoking were interviewed about such initiatives and what was more likely to influence Maori women to quit. A focus group was used to discuss smoking cessation initiatives and the data were thematically analysed using Boyatzis’ (1998) approach. Two themes were identified: (a) Transmission of Whanau (immediate and extended family) Values that includes the sub-categories whanau experiencesbeing mothers, and role models; and (b) Factors Crucial in Influencing Change that includes the subcategories choices and exercising own willa positive perception of self, and a Maori approach. The findings provide insight for nurses into Maori women’s perspectives. These highlight the importance of whanau and supportive relationships, and can be used to inform strategies to assist Maori women in smoking cessation.  

Maori health, smoking cessation, primary health care nursing, Maoricentred research

Maori women die prematurely of smoking related illnesses at greater rates than do other adults living in New Zealand (Ministry of Health, 2007). There is no apparent decline in the smoking rates among Maori women over the age of 15 years (Ministry of Health, 2003a). Antismoking campaigners and health professionals have questioned the effectiveness of current smoking cessation interventions (Middleton, 2004). Although recent research by the Quit Group (2005) suggested that smoking cessation media campaigns have been effective in generating calls to the National Quit Line by Maori, the number of Maori women callers was not identified. Having insight into what motivates Maori women to engage in activities aimed at successful smoking cessation is crucial for supporting them to successfully give up smoking.

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