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World Smokefree Day: Patients Get Help to Quit

Media Statement

Wednesday 25 May 2004

World Smokefree Day: Patients Get Help to Quit and Tairawhiti District Health Goes Smokefree

Gisborne Hospital staff are helping stub out smoking from Monday {31 May} by increasing quit smoking services offered to Gisborne Hospital patients who smoke.

“From Monday, every patient coming into Gisborne Hospital will have their smoking status assessed, and if they are found to be a smoker, they will be offered ways to quit,” says Tairawhiti District Health Chief Executive Jim Green.

“The single most effective way to reduce ill health in this community is for people to stop smoking. It’s as simple as that.”

Mr Green said patients who want to quit will be offered a variety of ways to give up the habit. They will receive information from the Quitline service, and/or referral to local smoking cessation services such as those offered by Turanga Health and Ngati Porou Hauora Primary Health Organisation.

Patients will also be offered behavioural techniques to help them overcome cravings while they give up nicotine.

Gisborne Hospital patients who do not feel ready to quit will be offered Nicotine Replacement Therapy such as patches or gum, for the duration of their stay.

“As well as increasing our efforts to help people quit smoking, on Monday 31 May, Gisborne Hospital and all other Tairawhiti District Health sites will be smokefree. Therefore, patients and visitors will not be able to smoke on our site.”

Mr Green said creating a smokefree campus is a priority for this district, and he encouraged other facilities and organisations to do the same.

“Smoking causes the premature death of an estimated 4,700 New Zealanders every year and it kills one in two people who continue to smoke past the age of 35.”

“Worryingly, for this district, more deaths of Maori aged over 35 are expected from cigarettes over the next decade, than ever before.”

“People who continue to smoke are putting themselves, and the lives of family and whanau in danger which is why we believe people deserve to have a smokefree environment when they are on our site.”

Just as you might be asked to extinguish a cigarette in someone’s home or on a Marae, we will be asking the same here, Mr Green said.

“From Monday, visitors, patients or workers who smoke on this site can expect to be reminded by a staff member that the area is smokefree.”

Mr Green said the decision to go smokefree supports the Government’s New Zealand Health Strategy objective of reducing smoking and smoking related disease.

Gisborne Hospital staff will be promoting a smokefree Tairawhiti at Gisborne Hospital’s main entrance on Monday 31 from 8am.

ENDS


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