Every year thousands of kiwis’ summer includes journeys to the beach, families and feasting, and of course the time-honoured tradition of New Year’s resolutions with stopping smoking consistently at the top of this list.
To further motivate people to stop, cigarettes and loose tobacco went up another 10 per cent on 1 January.
Waikato District Health Board’s medical officer of health Dr Richard Hoskins is urging smokers to beat the price increase and quit this summer.
“It’s a great opportunity to begin that journey to a smokefree life,” says Dr Hoskins.
“We are trying to put a stop to whānau dying needlessly from smoking-related diseases. More and more people are stopping smoking and we are seeing more outdoor public spaces become smokefree. It used to be very social and now it’s not.
“The cost of smoking may be going up, but the cost of quitting is free” he says.
In 2017, 499 people successfully stopped smoking in Waikato using Once and For All Stop Smoking Service. Of those who successfully stopped smoking 57 per cent were Māori which is good news given the Māori smoking rate at the 2013 census in Waikato was 35 per cent.
Once and For All provide a FREE stop smoking service offering face-to-face support which can be provided in an individual, whānau/family or group setting across most of the Waikato.
They will give a $50 voucher to every person who is still smokefree after four weeks. This increases to $300 if the person is pregnant.
They also provide FREE nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) that includes gum, lozenges and patches, and advice about other non-funded stop smoking medicines available.
Nicotine patches, gum and lozenges are safe, and contain only a minimal amount of nicotine, and come packaged without any of the 4,000 chemicals (many of which are harmful) found in cigarettes – using patches, gum or lozenges doubles the chance of quitting for good.
The cost of smoking will continue to rise by 10 per cent on 1 January each year for the next four years as part of the Government’s 2016 budget announcement. Tax hikes are part of a number of measures designed to move New Zealand towards the Government’s goal of a Smokefree New Zealand by 2025 – reducing smoking prevalence to less than 5 per cent of the total population.
To get FREE help to stop smoking call Once and For All on 0800 6623 4255 or visit their website: www.onceandforall.co.nz.
2013 Census data shows more than 43,782 people in Waikato aged 15 years and over smoke regularly (17 per cent) compared to 15 per cent nationally.
Previous tobacco tax increases have reduced tobacco consumption per capita by around a quarter and prompted thousands of smokers to quit.