June 2016

Main Countdown smokefree 010

A $1000 cheque will be shared among a group of ex-smokers at Countdown’s Vogeltown store in New Plymouth following the team’s win in a company-wide stop smoking competition.

The eight women took out the top place in the challenge run over a month to coincide with World Smokefree Day on May 31.They were among teams of staff from five local Countdown supermarkets to sign up to the competition run by the Taranaki Smokefree Coalition.

Members of the coalition are the Heart Foundation, Cancer Society, Tui Ora, Ngati Ruanui Health, Pinnacle Midlands Health Network and Taranaki District Health Board

Team leader Roslyn Hartigan gave up smoking for five years before starting again, and this time round is determined to stick with it.Being part of a group is a huge motivator she says.“Having other people in the same situation trying to give up– that makes the difference.”

To combat cravings at work the women, who work in different roles and over different hours, brought an exercise bike into their staffroom and started doing jigsaw puzzles.“Normally you would have something to eat and a smoke but we found other things to do.”

Sheryl Eustace works for Goodman Fielder and joined the women after fears she had undiagnosed emphysema. Since quitting, she’s noticed a range of favourable side effects – better circulation in her feet and better tasting food as well as more money in her pocket.It turns out that she doesn’t have emphysema but that gives her a feeling of having a second chance.

“It was actually easier than I thought. I thought I would stress out and get grumpy and I didn’t think I had the willpower – it turns out that I do. I’ve smoked for 40 years so if I can quit, anyone can.”

The groups’ Quit Coach Jan Stewart of Pinnacle Midlands Health Network made herself available whenever they needed it – at times there were urgent texts with queries and words of encouragement from her.She also provided information on the varying stages they would go through, nicotine replacement such as gum and patches and took their readings on a smokerlyser, which measures the carbon monoxide levels in a person's lungs, similar to the way a breathalyser measures breath-alcohol levels.

Her support runs for three months, ensuring they will be non-smokers for the long-term.Smoking cessation services are ongoing and provided through Tui Ora, Pinnacle Midlands Health Network and Ngati Ruanui (in South Taranaki). People wishing to give up smoking can refer themselves or be referred through their medical centre or another health professional they are being seen by.

Caption details: Staying smokefree has paid off for this group of Countdown Vogeltown work colleagues who won a competition run by the Taranaki Smokefree Coalition.They are, from left back: Jan Stewart (their Quit Coach), Sam Cowley, Christy Wiliams, , Chrissy Kahui and Roslyn Hartigan (team leader).At front is Carolyn Rei and Sheryl Eustace. Absent is Sarita Manu.

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