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Quit Smoking through Work and Income

Media Statement

Friday 23 May 2008

Quit Smoking through Work and Income

Work and Income’s East Coast offices are making it easier for clients to give up smoking, improve their health, and ultimately save money.

All three local Work and Income offices (Ruatoria, Kaiti and Gisborne) will have smokefree cessation staff working on site next week encouraging clients who smoke, to quit.

Work and Income Ruatoria and Kaiti Service Centre Manager Val Kerekere said the initiative provided excellent opportunities for locals with health issues related to, or exacerbated by, smoking.

“We already have the clients in the door, so why not use the opportunity to offer them guidance and help with such an important social issue. It’s quite a unique initiative, having health staff on site, and we are really pleased to be doing something so proactive for our people.”

Work and Income Gisborne Service Centre Manager Lynne Campbell said staff could also access the smokefree cessation programmes. “We wanted all staff to be offered the chance to quit and perhaps, with momentum on both sides of the counter, we can encourage each other and be role models for each other.”

The initiative, launched a week ahead of World Smokefree Day, has been supported by the district’s smokefree coalition Taki Tahi Toa Mano (TTTM).

TTTM spokeswoman Dianne Akurangi said resources created for Work and Income clients and staff included pocket information cards and smokefree-sponsored giveaways. As well as the health benefits of not smoking, Ms Akurangi said a key message for clients focuses on the money they can save by quitting.

“Many smokers probably haven’t ever done the maths and worked out that smoking just 11 cigarettes a day is costing them $195 a month. Getting rid of that financial outlay will be an enormous saving for a low income family. Just knowing those kinds of realities might act as a motivator for some.”

Ms Akurangi, who is Tobacco Control Manager at Tairawhiti District Health, said the partnership was crucial because 80 percent of Work and Income clients in the district identify as Maori. “Sadly, the burden associated with smoking falls disproportionately on Maori (47%), Pacific peoples (29%), and lower socio-economic populations generally.”

Turanga Health and Ngati Porou Hauora Primary Health Organisation smoking cessation staff will be available on site. After the launch next week Work and Income clients will still be able to access smoking cessation services via a referral.

Smoking Cessation staff will be at the following Work and Income centres:
• Work and Income Ruatoria, Monday 26 May 2008
• Work and Income Kaiti, Wednesday 28 May 2008 (Media welcome, 11am)
• Work and Income Gisborne, Thursday 29 May 2008


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