Cantabrian's are being encouraged to use World Smokefree Day on Sunday (May 31, 2015) to think about how they can contribute to a Smokefree Aotearoa by 2025.
David Meates, Canterbury DHB chief executive, believes that by working together we can achieve the Government's goal to reduce New Zealand's smoking rate to less than five percent of the population by 2025.
"While 2025 is only 10 years away it's important to look back at how far we have come. Fifty years ago some doctors prescribed cigarettes, 25 years ago you could smoke on planes and at the movies and 10 years ago you could smoke in bars and restaurants," Mr Meates says.
"Smoking is still a big issue in Canterbury. Our DHB region has more regular smokers than any other DHB region. More than 52,000 Cantabrians -– that's the equivalent of three sell-out crowds at AMI Stadium – are regular smokers.
"The good news is that fewer of us are smoking. Smoking has decreased in all age groups, with the total prevalence of regular smoking falling in the Canterbury DHB region to 14.5 percent."
Mr Meates says there are many reasons why the rate of smoking is decreasing, including annual price increases, reduced visibility, increases in the number of Smokefree spaces and places, and the cessation support provided by people working in the health system.
"Cessation support is something we are getting better at all the time. It's pleasing that we now consistently achieve the Government's target of 95 percent of eligible hospitalised smokers getting cessation advice and support."
Mr Meates is encouraging Cantabrian's to show their support for a Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 by signing up to Smokefree Canterbury's new online charter.
"The online Charter has been developed to make it easy for people, workplaces and other organisations to show their support for a Smokefree 2025. It looks like a jigsaw to illustrate the way that our individual contributions will join together to achieve our Smokefree 2025 goal," Mr Meates says.
Smokefree and Proud at the Christchurch Marathon - Aukati KaiPaipa is a cessation provider who receive referrals from health staff to support people to stop smoking.
As part of World Smokefree Day this Sunday, Aukati KaiPaipa client Justine Riwai will be celebrating her Smokefree status by joining six other Aukatai KaiPaipa clients, and Maraea her quit coach, on the 10km walk at the Christchurch Marathon.
Justine has been Smokefree for 16 weeks and it's not just her health which is benefiting. By not smoking Justine is saving $280 a week, which she's spending on her family.
"I am using all the money I'm saving on taking the kids to places like Orana Park, Willowbank, the Antarctic Centre and Hanmer. We're doing something special together every weekend," Justine says.
Justine says this time around she was determined to succeed.
"My quit coach Maraea was my biggest motivation. Knowing that I had to report to her, there was no way I was going to suck on a cancer stick again," she says.
At their first meeting Justine was shocked to discover the impact of her smoking on her body. Justine blew a score of 38 on a CO2 detector – blowing low 20s is considered a heavy smoker.
Like everyone else who attempts to stop smoking, Justine experienced lots of urges to smoke. Two key strategies she used to relieve her symptoms were going for walks and weaving harakeke.
After smoking for 27 years and with 14 unsuccessful quit attempts to her name, Justine can now call herself Smokefree.
Find out more at www.smokefreecanterbury.org.nz
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