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Thousands of Kiwis urged to stop smoking this October

Thousands of Kiwis urged to stop smoking this October

From 1 October, thousands of Kiwis will be taking part in the 31-day stop smoking challenge.

Stoptober is only in the second year in New Zealand but organisers are expecting swelling participant numbers to double.

Last year over 5,200 Kiwis signed up online to participate in the first Stoptober 31-day challenge, with a number of people who did the challenge but didn’t sign up online. Stoptober 2015 is aiming at 10,000 Kiwis signing up!

“Stoptober could be the start of your pathway to good health,” says New Zealand Medical Association Chair Dr Stephen Child. A respiratory physician at Auckland Hospital, Dr Child is very familiar with the damage caused to lungs by smoking. “The increased support available during Stoptober makes it an excellent opportunity to quit for good—you know you’re not on your own,” Dr Child said.

“Smoking is still the biggest cause of premature death in New Zealand, taking 5,000 lives each year,” says Debby Newton, Smokefree Coordinator, SDHB. “We know that smoking shortens your life—those who die from smoking-related illness lose on average 15 years of life compared to people who don’t smoke. It’s the cause of many health conditions which come at a great cost to you, your family and the country.”

“Rather than concentrate on health risks, Stoptober 2015 focuses on the many positives unleashed by stopping smoking, and so the theme is ‘Stopping could be the start of something!’ For example, Stoptober could be the start of having more money in your pocket, better living or saving for a new IPhone,” Debby said.

The Stoptober movement aims to trigger stop smoking attempts on a national scale during the month of October. Once people are signed up to Stoptober, they will be advised of the range of support available in their local communities to become smokefree, including face-to-face support, and stop smoking therapies like patches, gum, lozenges and Champix.

28 pharmacies across Otago and Southland are gearing up to support their customers with information on Stoptober. The SDHB Smokefree team have equipped these pharmacies with Nicotine Replacement Therapy packs to encourage their customers who smoke to give stopping a go and register with the campaign.

Clinical evidence shows that when people stop smoking for a month they are five times more likely to stay smokefree and those who use stop smoking medications like nicotine replacement therapy are more likely to stay smokefree,” Debby said.

The Stoptober.nz website goes live 1 September 2015 and the campaign aims to inform, inspire and motivate people to get signed up and quit-ready come 1 October.

Smokefree Otago and Smokefree Murihiku will be promoting Stoptober at the following Warehouse stores:

Invercargill 5, 12, 19 & 26 September from 12.00 noon

Gore 5, 12, 19 & 26 September from 12.00 noon

South Dunedin 12, 19 & 26 September from 12.00 noon

People will be able to register to Stoptober and there will be free giveaways. Come along and meet the team.

ENDS

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