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Coaching through a quit journey
Like a sports coach a quit coach can be an inspiring figure pushing individuals to do their best.
That’s a message coming through in the New Year New You campaign, run by the regional-wide Taranaki Stop Smoking Service (TSSS).
More than 190 people registered interest in quitting smoking, following the start of the promotion in early January. Of those, 129 enrolled in a seven-week programme and are working towards being smokefree.
“Coaching support in the quit journey is a big part of it for people, says George Rapana, who works alongside other Quit Coaches Janine Lineham and Emma Dillon at Tui Ora.
“The general coaching tips are big but also helping them understand how nicotine withdrawal works – the fact it impacts differently depending on how much nicotine an individual already has in their body."
He says the quit journey is broken up into two major stages. Understanding the nicotine addiction and preventing relapse.
“A lot of people push the stress button. They say ‘I had a stressful day so I had a smoke.’ That is a normal withdrawal symptom – feeling the pressure.
“We tell them that NRT medication helps with those cravings. A patch and a lozenge can go together or a patch and gum – just like a coffee and a smoke.”
Providing consistent information is another factor. Janine has worked as Quit Coach for many years and says the Tui Ora team of three has fine-tuned the way they deliver the quit programme
“In the last two to three years we have defined and simplified things. What the three of us are saying is the same – we understand each journey is individual but there are lots of similarities and simple, basic steps for them to understand.
“We say, if you are ready, you can quit in seven weeks.” Constant reminders and support comes in the form of text messages – like a reminder on a Friday to have smokefree weekend.
Making the journey fun is also key. “We try to convince them that quitting is fun. They come in depressed, a little bit doubtful but you want them to walk out the door feeling pumped up, knowing they can do this."
The hardness, the emotional highs and lows from the withdrawal can throw up other issues, points out Emma. “We keep them focused on the quit journey. That is what is happening for them right now. It’s good to listen but they can get support for other issues and we can point them in the right direction.