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Clear the air day for World Smokefree Day


PRESS RELEASE 2 MAY 2008


Clear the air day for World Smokefree Day

Health organisations around the country are gearing up to celebrate World Smokefree Day – a global event that draws attention to the effects of smoking.

World Smokefree Day is on 31 May and was first held by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 1988, first observed nationally in New Zealand in 1998. Today, awareness about the harmful effects of smoking is well known. New Zealand is seen as a global leader in Government and community efforts to reduce the harm caused by smoking. Yet, with smoking being responsible for almost 5000 deaths each year (around 13 people each day), tobacco related disease continues to be the leading cause of preventable death and illness in New Zealand.

A staggering 34 percent of our Lakes population are smokers, just over the national average. However, research shows that more than 65 percent of all smokers have made an attempt to quit in the last five years.

Across the Lakes district Toi Te Ora – Public Health (Toi Te Ora) are joining forces with the National Heart Foundation, the District Health Board, and local smoking cessation specialists to celebrate ‘clearing the air’ on World Smokefree Day. The group challenge, and encourage all smokers, to consider making 31 May their ‘quit day’. Spokesperson Bronwyn Courtney from Toi Te Ora says, “We are working to increase quit attempts among people in our community. We want smokers to know they can make a positive change for themselves, their family, and their loved ones – and that help is available”.

For people preparing to quit on World Smoke free Day at the end of May (or any day) there is a month to prepare. Tips to successfully quit include:

* Get some nicotine replacement (NRT) to help you. It can double your chance of quitting successfully
* Call Quitline 0800 778 778 (www.quit.org.nz) to request a quit smoking pack, or talk to a quit smoking advisor
* Ask for help from your GP or pharmacist
* Set up ‘no smoking’ areas for yourself
* Avoid situations where you are likely to smoke
* Write down the reasons why you want stop and put it somewhere you will see it
* Tell your friends and family you are going to quit and ask for support
* Plan to spend the money you save on yourself or loved ones.

ENDS

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