March 2017

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George Rapana, Janine Lineham and Emma Dillon, Quit Coaches of the Taranaki Stop Smoking Service.

Registrations for a New Year smokefree campaign have come flooding in, with high hopes that Taranaki people are committed more than ever to kicking the habit.

By the end of February, eight weeks after the start of 2017, 129 people had signed up for the New Year New You challenge run by the Taranaki Stop Smoking Service. This meant they expressed an interest in wanting to stop smoking and were enrolled in a 7-week programme.

The regional-wide challenge, run by Tui Ora, was anchored by the yearly desire to start the New Year with healthy resolutions, says Tui Ora Public Health Team Leader Tamara Ruakere. It coincided with a nationwide price increase on January 1, 2017, following a signal last year from the Government that the tax take on tobacco products will continue to rise.

Tamara says the price increase appeared to be an incentive for many people. 

“If you are on a low income you get to a point where you don’t want to be spending that amount any more on tobacco or cigarettes.” Others have spoken of being encouraged by young grandchildren and other whānau.

Some were also motivated by the ease with which they could receive support and practical information. “Some say they tried to stop before and have been unsuccessful. It might be because they didn’t know how to use the medicine and didn’t have the support of someone to talk them through what was going on.”

Quit coaches say people often do not understand the impact of nicotine withdrawal on their body and the emotional highs and lows. While it’s hard, there is also an attempt to make quitting fun, says Tamara. 

“Quit coaches want them to feel pumped up, to know that they can do this – it’s about changing their mind set.”

Quit coaches in the Taranaki Stop Smoking Service offer a range of free support from individual to group mentoring (including text reminders), patches, gum, and lozenges. They meet with people wherever it is convenient, such as their home, workplace or sports club. They use a carbon monoxide monitor to verify if people are smokefree at certain times during the quit programme.

For further details contact:

Tui Ora Public Health Team Leader Tamara Ruakere, 06 759 4064 or [email protected]

Taranaki Stop Smoking Service, 06 759 7314, email [email protected], see the Facebook page TuiOraPublicHealthTeam or link)

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