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Heart Foundation gets behind Stoptober

Heart Foundation gets behind Stoptober

Quitting smoking is the most important thing a person can do to reduce their risk of heart disease, says the Heart Foundation.

Thousands of Kiwis are being encouraged to kick the smoking habit in October, during a 31-day challenge called Stoptober.

Stoptober, which begins today, is a nationwide campaign offering support and encouragement to those looking to quit smoking for good.

It is being funded under the Ministry of Health’s Pathway to Smokefree 2025 Innovation Fund, and led by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and Inspiring Limited.

The Heart Foundation has thrown its weight behind the cause by coming on board as a supporting partner.

Heart Foundation Medical Director Gerry Devlin says smokers are two to four times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke.

“There are thousands of chemicals in cigarette smoke, which when inhaled can damage the lining of your arteries, reduce the amount of oxygen your blood can carry, raise your blood pressure, and make your blood more likely to clot.”

Devlin says the best thing a smoker can do for their health and the health of their family is Edward Cowley, Tala Pasifika Programme Manager, says Stoptober is a great opportunity for Pacific smokers to try and break free of the habit.

“With the whole of Aotearoa trying to stop at the same time, it’s great to know you’re not alone and that the support is there. Stoptober isn’t just for friends and family who smoke. If you don’t smoke, then supporting someone you know or care about to stop smoking could just be that extra incentive they need to stop for good this time.”

Cowley says Pacific people are all about family and giving up smoking means you are more likely to fulfil a lifetime with your children and grandchildren.

“Stopping smoking isn’t just great for you; it’s great for all those around you. Your children, loved ones, colleagues, friends and family would all benefit from you having a go at It’s not too late to sign up to Stoptober. Although Stoptober ( is a 31-day challenge, people can easily sign up throughout the month.

More than 3200 people have already joined and, with an average of 300 to 400 people signing up every day, it is estimated a further 10,000 people will come on board during People who sign up for Stoptober will receive 31 days of support, including free motivational texts, daily emails, and a mobile app which offers stress-release support in Te Reo Maori and English. The website will also direct them towards free stop-smoking treatment, which includes face-to-face, online and phone counselling.

A range of fun social media, radio and television events are also happening throughout the country. Heart Foundation staff and volunteers will be helping out at some of these.

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

When someone gives up smoking, their circulation improves and they can breathe more easily within only three months. Within five years, the person’s risk of having a heart attack is reduced to the level of someone who has never smoked.

Start the Stoptober challenge now by going to


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