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Quitline ready for a busy New Year as people give up smoking

31 December 2012

Quitline ready for a busy New Year as people ‘give up the smokes’

Quitline expects an increase in calls from January 1 as people make their New Year’s resolution to ‘give up the smokes’, which will save their health, the health of their family and save them thousands of dollars a year.

The first of four planned 10% tobacco tax increases on standard cigarettes and loose tobacco will take effect from January 1 2012. Quitline’s call centre will be open from 8:00am on January 1 and is ready to help smokers wanting to quit and beat their addiction. The entire month of January will be busy; Quitline received 8,222 calls in January 2012 alone.

“People call Quitline for many reasons. It’s fear of their own health and many worry about cancer and the affects of smoking on their family. A real trigger to call is the price increase. Many smokers will have been thinking and planning to quit smoking as a New Year’s resolution.

They know an increase in tobacco is going to hit them in the wallet and it will hurt, to be honest it’s a good increase and Quitline supports the strong controls on the supply of tobacco. Many people in the tobacco control sector want much bigger tax increases.

Smoking is a pernicious addiction, it is not an accident and people need help to break their addiction, we can help them with support and services to get them through – to quit and stay quit”, says Paula Snowden, Quitline Chief Executive.

From January 1 the cost of a popular packet of 20 cigarettes will rise from $14.40 to $16.00 and a packet of 25’s will increase from $18.00 to around $20.00 from 1 January 2013. This 10% cost increase makes smoking an expensive habit to support.

“Our research tells us that 80% of current smokers would not smoke if they had their life over again and 70% want to quit. We hear from people everyday who are desperate to quit for their health and their whanau”, says Paula.

A pack a day over one year will cost around $5,840.00 (based on the new increases of $16.00 for a packet of 20). This is a lot of money that could be saved and could go towards the family, bills or special treats.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) is an in-expensive and subsidised way to help people quit their chemical addiction. From January 1 2013 NRT prescription charges will increase slightly from $3 to $5 for each eight week supply of patches, gum or lozenges. However, this is still a very affordable option to help people beat their smoking addiction.

“People quitting smoking matters to New Zealand as we move towards our goal of a Smokefree Aotearoa by 2025. With more people quit, health costs that are related to smoking will go down, there will be a reduction in respiratory problems and this will improve the health of everyone in the family, not just the smoker - add to that they will save literally thousands of dollars a year,” Paula says.

“We know the more Quitline services a person uses, the higher their rate of success. Smokers can pick and choose the support services that work best for them, including phone, email, blogs, text and online support to help people beat their addiction,” says Paula Snowden.

Smokers who use Quitline’s services and support are five times more likely to successfully quit than those who quit alone. Anyone seeking support can call Quitline on 0800 778 778 or visit www.quit.org.nz for online support.

About Quitline
The Quit Group (which operates as Quitline) is an incorporated charitable trust which was established in 1999. We are committed to helping all New Zealanders quit smoking, with a particular focus on Māori, Pacific peoples and pregnant women. Our free services are funded by the Ministry of Health.

ENDS

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