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The final countdown for Kiwi smokers

The final countdown for Kiwi smokers

Inaugural quit-smoking month starts Wednesday (1st October)

There are just two days left until many smokers stubb out their cigarettes for the last time and embark on Stoptober – New Zealand’s first national quit-smoking month.

More than 3000 smokers have signed up to quit during Stoptober, and based on the trend of more than 200 people signing up per day, it is estimated a further 8500 will sign up before the end of October.

Looking at the UK campaign where evidence shows that four times the number of people who sign up to the website will attempt to quit on their own, it is estimated a further 23,000 Kiwis will be trying to kick the habit without registering or seeking support.

Nearly half the people committing to quitting on www.stoptobernz.co.nz are aged 18-34 (43.5%).

Shonagh Lindsay, Stoptober campaign’s national co-ordinator, says it’s not too late if you’re still plucking up the courage to stop. “People who sign up after the 30th September will still get 31 days of support.”

Throughout Stoptober people wanting to stop smoking will be provided with daily emails and texts, and a free Stoptober app downloadable from www.stoptobernz.co.nz, which has stress-release support in Te Reo Maori and English. The website will also direct them towards free stop smoking treatment in their area, which includes stop-smoking products and face-to-face, online and phone counselling.

Clinical evidence shows that smokers who manage to stop smoking for a month are five times more likely to stop, and quitters who use support are much more likely to succeed.

The campaign follows on the back of the United Kingdom Stoptober campaign which has been running for two years and last year saw nearly 250,000 people quit smoking.

Shonagh Lindsay says there will never be a better time to give stopping a go.

“The whole campaign is built around getting the support you need. While there is no magic quick fix, getting some assistance will increase your chances of succeeding. Doing it with your friends, your workmates or your family will help you stay the distance and come 31st October, you will be that much closer to being smokefree.”

Smoking is still the biggest cause of premature death in New Zealand, taking 5,000 lives each year which equates to 13 people per day. Smoking cuts your life-expectancy by 15 years on average and is most prevalent in Maori and Pacific communities. An estimated 39.2% of Maori and 24.7% of Pacific people smoke, compared to 15.4% of Europeans and 10.2% of the Asian population (Ministry of Health).

Shonagh Lindsay says “Smokers who just can’t bring themselves to stop should think not only about the repercussions on their health but all the money they could be saving. Smoking a pack of cigarettes a day can cost you up to $6,500 per year. If you smoke six packets a week you could pay off a brand new Suzuki Alto, with zero deposit, in just two years.”

Stoptober is targeting the country’s 463,000 smokers and is being funded under the Pathway to Smokefree 2025 Innovation Fund and run by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and Inspiring Limited, a provider of smoking cessation support.

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