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Make 31 May Your Quit Day

Make 31 May Your Quit Day

Anamalia was 16 when she started smoking and had tried to quit a number of times on her own. At 36 she was introduced to the Pacific Quit Smoking Service – they visited her at her home, provided her with tips to help quit, free patches and lots of encouragement.  Anamalia set a quit date and hasn’t looked back: “I didn’t think I could do it, but I did - I quit smoking!”  She has now been a non-smoker for six months and says she feels healthier, happier, and doesn’t get stressed as easily over the kids. She says that her family are very happy and her children are her support group. “They watch me when we go shopping to make sure I am not tempted to buy cigarettes.  I hope to be a positive role model for them.”  She’s also got an extra $40 a week which will help send her kids to camp.

“The key theme for this year’s World Smokefree Day”, says Dr Brad Novak, the Smokefree Medical Officer of Health for Auckland Regional Public Health Service, “is ‘Quit Now it’s about whānau’.” He says that it’s a great opportunity to quit on May 31 and make a positive change for yourself and your whānau’.  “It’s not always easy to quit”, says Dr Novak, “as we have seen through our Pacific Quit programme and the numerous health promotion work we are involved in with District Health Board’s and the community. However with support it really can be achieved and bring so many benefits for you and your whanau.”

The purpose of World Smokefree Day is for everyone to have the opportunity to celebrate being Smokefree as well as raise awareness about the financial and health costs of smoking (including second-hand smoke), and seek help from your local community who are always available to help people to quit. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in Aotearoa, and although more kiwis are giving up smoking than ever before, 5,000 still die from it every year. “That’s like filling 11 jumbo jets full of people and sending them off to some destination never to return,” explains Dr Novak.  Part of World Smokefree Day is to work towards the national target of a Smokefree Aotearoa by 2025, which includes making a wide range of environments (parks, public facilities and spaces) smokefree.

If you have someone in your family or household who smokes and are thinking about quitting, or if you are a smoker yourself and want to discourage others from following in your footsteps, think about the things you can do to create a supportive smokefree environment.  It might be as simple as creating a smokefree home and car, talking to your children about the benefits of being smokefree, and ensuring no one smokes around children (so future generations can be smokefree).  Some people quit with a friend, others know their whānau are in their corner cheering them on.  You don’t have to do it alone; it’s about empowering people to make their own choices for their own futures, free of addiction, but with support from all of us.

There are lots of smokefree events and activities happening around Auckland for World Smokefree Day, including a smokefree party at Mangere Town Centre, which became the first NZ Smokefree Town Centre in 2007.  For more information on becoming smokefree see or call Quitline on 0800 778778. Information on the Pacific Quit Smoking Service is also available on this webpage or call Iutita on (09) 623 4600 x 27718. For a calendar of events for World Smokefree Day click on the World Smokefree Day 31 May link on the above webpage.


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