Taranaki’s sports fields are the latest venue for the smokefree message as advocates encourage the junior rugby league community to get behind World Smokefree Day on May 31.
However, health promoters are heartened by their experiences to date, saying that whānauare respecting the kaupapa of the smokefree message. It’s a “major change” from about five years ago, says George Rapana, a quit coach at Tui Ora in New Plymouth, and former rugby league administrator.
Health promoters and Quit coaches from the Taranaki Smokefree Coalition have been at junior rugby league fixtures in New Plymouth and Opunake, and will be in Waitara at Clifton Park on Sunday May 24 from 10am-2pm.
“When we turn up to events there’s a handful of smokers but they go away from the main sports fields and make sure they’re not smoking around the young ones,” says Mr Rapana.
“We’re heartened by that fact. Now people are so much more conscious and it’s not happening on the sidelines like it used to. Things have come a long way in ten years.”
The news is good for Tamara Ruakere, Tui Ora Public Health Team leader. She has worked in the area of smokefree health promotion for some years including a stint at Taranaki District Health Board, and recalls when rugby league clubs first signed up to become smokefree clubs.
“It was all about reducing children’s exposure to smoking, creating a smokefree culture and smokefree environment for our tamariki. The reaction at the time was that they didn’t think would be possible to bring about this change, but now they’re smokefree and proud.”
Mr Rapana says it’s important to spread the message that whānau is a driving force for many who want to quit. “Some people quit with a friend, others know their whānau are in their corner cheering them on – you don’t have to do it alone. It’s about empowering people for their own future. We’ve all got a role to play in supporting them.”
A Tui Ora promotion starting this month has the added incentive of giving successful non-smokers the chance to win $300. People have to first prove they are smokers by blowing into a smokerliser monitor and then prove 12 weeks later that they’ve remained smokefree using the same test.
At one of the rugby league events 10 people signed up to quit and at another five committed themselves. Many will opt to give up as a group through a programme lead by a Quit Coach. Others might prefer one-on-one help. There is a lot of motivational support available, says Mr Rapana, whether it is face-to-face or phone support services, Txt2quit, online blogs or applications like Goalpost which reward and connect people with friends and supporters.
Contact a Quit Coach at Tui Ora 06 759 4064 or Ruanui Health 06 278 1310 to find out how they can help you to stop smoking today.
For more information please contact:
Tamara Ruakere, Tui Ora Public Health Team Leader, 06 759 4064, [email protected]
George Rapana, Tui Ora Quit Coach, 06 759 4064, [email protected]
Notes to media:
- Tui Ora is a Taranaki-wide health and social services organisation and its smoking cessation services are available to everyone, of any ethnicity.
- For more information on World Smokefree Day, go to: www.worldsmokefreeday.org.nz(external link)
- World Smokefree Day was created by the World Health Organisation in 1987. In other countries it is known as World No Tobacco Day.