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Ball starts rolling on Taranaki Stoptober event

Media release

27 August 2014

Ball starts rolling on Taranaki Stoptober event

A giant red disc rolls into town on September 12 as New Plymouth prepares to join the country’s first stop smoking month, Stoptober.

Smokers throughout NZ will be encouraged to sign up in September to stop smoking in October – and beyond.

As part of the campaign, monster-sized (2m x 2m) balls are popping up all over the country. From 10.45 am on September 12, one will be rolled along the Coastal Walkway from near the Wind Wand, across the road and onto Puke Ariki Landing.

The local campaign will then be launched before a range of activities and entertainment kicks off. This includes free Zumba, a CrossFit demonstration, giveaways and performances from a kapa haka group and a local band.

Taranaki DHB health promoter Jill Nicholls says Stoptober is different to other campaigns because of its ambitious target of reaching out to the country’s 463,000 smokers. “This is a big drive and an important challenge. Many of those thousands are long-term smokers, and through this mass quitting attempt we want to offer them as much encouragement and support as possible.”

Anyone who commits to being smokefree from October for at least three months – or signs up family and friends– goes into a local draw and can win prize money from a pool of $1000 (conditions apply).

Local stop smoking support is provided by Ngati Ruanui Health Centre and health and social services organisation Tui Ora. Both organisations will be there on the day to explain the stop smoking process. A new round of group-based programmes as well as individual support will start in September, says Tui Ora Public Health Team Leader Tamara Ruakere.

“Many smokers express willingness to give up but don’t know how or where to start. We know that smoking shortens lives, but we also know many people still need to hear that message as the country works to a Smokefree Aotearoa in 2025, she says”

Clinical evidence shows that smokers who manage to stop smoking for a month are five times more likely to quit, and smokers who use support to give up are much more likely to stay smokefree.

Throughout Stoptober people wanting to stop smoking will receive daily emails and texts, and a Stoptober app downloadable from the website www.stoptobernz.co.nz has stress release support available in Te Reo or English.

Stoptober is being funded under the Ministry of Health’s Pathway to Smokefree 2025 Innovation Fund. In Taranaki it is being run by the Taranaki Smokefree Coalition whose members include the TDHB, Tui Ora, Ruanui Health Centre, the Cancer Society and the Heart Foundation.

ENDS

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