Kim Fulton is a NZME. News Service regional reporter

Local smokers using Quitline support

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Data shows Rotorua people made contact with Quitline by phone 198 times between January 1 and early March.
Data shows Rotorua people made contact with Quitline by phone 198 times between January 1 and early March.

Rotorua people are turning to Quitline as well as local help for support to stop smoking.

Quitline data shows Rotorua people made contact with Quitline by phone 198 times between January 1 and early March. Rotorua people contacted Quitline through its website 23 times during the same period.

Tipu Ora Aukati Kai Paipa smoking cessation co-ordinator Margie Epapara said she saw people of all ages quitting smoking through her programme.

Health and money were two reasons people decided to quit, she said. Some older people were sick of being unwell. They couldn't get well during the winter because of their smoking and had been in that situation for many years.

Many were also giving up as the price of cigarettes increased, said Ms Epapara. She said she helped clients with individual plans for quitting and nicotine replacement therapy.

As well as working with the individual giving up smoking, she worked with their families. Usually those quitting had other smokers in their house and they often ended up on the programme too, said Ms Epapara.

Quitline chief executive Andrew Slater said people were increasingly using digital tools such as blogs, Facebook and texts to quit smoking. Friends, family and partners of smokers were also increasingly asking online about how to help their whanau quit.

"That's an emerging trend for us ... What we want to do is help those people become positive health coaches, to support their friends and family," said Mr Slater.

He thought the increased interest from friends and family of smokers was a result of their ability to engage with the Quitline service online.

Quitline was available 24 hours seven days a week and Mr Slater said people were five times more likely to succeed in their attempts to quit if they'd been through programmes such as Quitline.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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