May 2017

Main McKechnie TSSS

Quit Coach George Rapana (front) helped McKechnie's employees to ditch entrenched smoking habits thanks to a seven-week programme.

Taranaki aluminium giant McKechnie is getting behind staff who want to quit smoking. Read the story from the Stuff website here(external link).

Teaming up with the Taranaki Stop Smoking Service at Tui Ora, 10 employees signed up to a seven week quit programme.

By the end of the challenge, eight of the 10 staff had managed to kick the habit, with the other two greatly reducing their consumption of cigarettes. It is hoped that the success of the latest stop smoking challenge will inspire other smokers at McKechnie to quit too.

"You gain everything and lose nothing by quitting smoking, " says Quit Coach George Rapana, who worked with the team. "It's not just about the cost which is significant, but it's about regaining your health and your life."

McKechnie's Simon Wall was joined on the programme by wife Lisa. While she doesn't work at McKechnie, Lisa was invited to join as were other partners. As a household they are now $250 better off a week and have supported each other through the process.

"We recognise that most of our lives are lived outside the workplace and for many smokers the first thing they do when they get home is have a smoke. If someone else in the household is smoking then it makes it that much harder not to light up," explains Health Safety Well-Being & Compliance Advisor, Sherie Nicoll.

Sherie, a former smoker herself, is behind the initiative at McKechnie. She understands how hard it is to quit smoking but found motivation in her five grandchildren.

"I wanted them to be able to hug and kiss me without thinking I stink.

"When you smoke you get to the point where you are planning your entire day around your next cigarette. If you are down to your last one you start thinking about when you can get to the shops before they close."

For Toolmaker, Charles Frere the death of his Dad lead to his smoking habit. "Quitting is beginning to get easier but the third week was hell. Social situations are the hardest. If I'm with friends who are having a beer and a smoke at the end of the week then it's really hard."

Colleague Ange Murdock agrees. She managed to quit for 18 months on one occasion but the death of a loved one saw her return to smoking. She learnt from last time to take it a little easier:

"If you fall off the wagon you just need to get straight back on. You can't beat yourself up about it. You just have to try again."

The Stop Smoking programme runs for seven weeks but ongoing support is offered for up to three months for those that need it.

Tui Ora quit coaches work with individuals or groups providing free support and advice, as well as nicotine replacements like gum, patches and lozenges, and for eligible candidates prescription medicines like Champix.

"This is the second time we have worked with the Tui Ora Quit Smoking team and we would challenge any other workplace to do the same. Quitting together is easier than going it alone and we are proof that it works," says Sherie.

Quitting smoking is just one of the health and well-being initiatives McKechnie is keen to promote to staff. They pride themselves on their innovative approach to wellness and recently placed 11th overall in the Aotearoa Bike Challenge, encouraging more than a fifth of staff to get on their bikes.

World Smokefree Day is on Wednesday 31 May. For more information see the website(external link)

For further information about the Taranaki Stop Smoking Service phone 06 759 7314 or email [email protected]

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