Are you up for the challenge this Stoptober?

17 September 2014
Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) is hopeful that many of its residents who smoke will take up the challenge and quit smoking for good from 1 October.
October or, as it is now known, Stoptober is New Zealand’s first national quit smoking month designed to help the country’s 463,000 smokers to kick the habit by providing support and assistance to encourage as many smokers as possible to stop.
Stoptober is a national 31-day stop smoking challenge happening across the country, and WDHB health promoter Desiree Mclean says that although Whanganui smoking rates are declining, they are declining very slowly so we need to do more to improve our community’s overall wellbeing and do our bit to help the country achieve the Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 target.
As part of the national Stoptober campaign, a big red Stoptober ball will be rolled down the country from the far north to Invercargill in 25 days and wherever it stops there will be a Stoptober Stop Smoking event.
Locally, the big red Stoptober ball will roll into Marton on 18 September, with Rangitikei’s mayor rolling the ball down the main street from 11.45am. Friday 19 September will see the ball at Majestic Square from 11am to 2pm and then down at the River Traders market between 9am and 12pm the following day.
“We still have around 5000 residents in the Whanganui DHB area who are classified as smokers so hopefully large numbers of our community will get to the events, take up the challenge and stop smoking from 1 October,” Ms Mclean says. “Ultimately, we would like to see many become quitters who stay smokefree throughout October, and beyond that, carry on being smokefree for good.”
Studies have shown that if you stop smoking for a month, you’re five times more likely to stop for life, and those who take advantage of the support offered to them, are even more likely to succeed. Ms Mclean says that now is the perfect opportunity for smokers to kick the habit.
“A smoker who is supported in their quit attempt is more likely to become, and then stay, smokefree so it makes sense to complete the challenge with others,” Ms Mclean says. “You can support and encourage each other through the process to becoming a non-smoker – your health, your whanau and your bank balance will love you for it.”
Throughout Stoptober quitters will be provided with a range of free options for support including:
  • face-to-face and phone counselling
  • an online and smartphone app
  • stop smoking text and email messages
  • support via the Stoptober website – and Facebook page
  • assistance to find local smoking cessation providers.
Stoptober is a perfect opportunity for communities to work together to achieve the Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 goal, encouraging and supporting more people to quit for a future in which our children and grandchildren will enjoy tobacco-free lives.