Stop smoking support in Taranaki is to have a new focus with a unified regional wide service underway this year.
In July, Tui Ora was selected by the Ministry of Health as the lead provider for the region. It will work closely with those who provide existing services – in the meantime people wishing to quit won’t see any change while the transition is taking place.
Currently there are different options for free support. Quit coaches are specially trained people who work with individuals to develop a quit plan. They can also provide patches, gum and lozenges at no cost to all participants.
They also run group programmes, enabling friends and family to quit together and support each other. A promotion taking place in October as part of Stoptober has a focus on reaching coastal communities. People in the region who sign up for the seven week programme – and notch up smokefree status at the end – will be in the draw to win.
The most recent statistics from the 2013 census show there are 4557 smokers in South Taranaki. Tui Ora Public Health Service Leader Tamara Ruakere says the new service will focus on areas where the need is greatest.
“I know how hard it is to stop smoking. Our quit coaches are ex-smokers so they know firsthand how tough it can be. Our goal is to support those that do smoke, and we will do whatever it takes to make their quit journey a success.”
The new regional service aims to be more responsive and innovative. “That might mean running after-hours clinics and using new technology to stay in touch, whenever and wherever we can,” she says.
Quit coaches cannot prescribe products like Champix – people need to see a doctor for that. However, they provide coaching support to those who are eligible to use Champix, ensuring they have the right information on how to use it to become smokefree.
To access the Quit Coach services call Taranaki Stop Smoking Service at Tui Ora to make an appointment 06 759
4064 (free service including patches, gum and lozenges).
You can also discuss with your practice nurse or GP who is able to refer you to a quit coach or prescribe patches, gum and lozenges.
Or call Quitline direct 0800 778 778