WDHB highlights World Smokefree Day as perfect time to quit

23 May 2016
‘It’s about whānau’ is the message for this year’s World Smokefree Day – the perfect time for smokers to consider how smoking may be impacting on their health and the health of those around them, says Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) tobacco control health promoter Sarah Hawken.
Miss Hawken says the WDHB is encouraging Whanganui district smokers to make the commitment to becoming smokefree to improve their wellbeing, feel better and help create environments where children are free from exposure to tobacco.
“Celebrated every year on 31 May, this year’s World Smokefree Day is all about encouraging friends, families and whānau to quit,” Miss Hawken says. “It’s a great opportunity to join together and take those first steps in order to take control of our health, and talk to our loved ones about the benefits of becoming smokefree.”
The Ministry of Health estimates that secondhand smoke kills around 350 people in New Zealand every year. Furthermore, children exposed to smoking within their home environment are far more susceptible to a number of harmful illnesses, and babies are at increased risk of sudden unexplained death in infancy.
“What’s really concerning is that research shows us that children are far more likely to take up the smoking habit themselves when smoking is normalised around them,” Miss Hawken says. 
“I want to encourage people not to feel intimidated about making changes. While taking smoking outside and making homes and cars smokefree is a great step towards protecting the health of our children, quitting is the best role modelling we can show our kids”. 
The Whanganui district has a number of local stop smoking support services available including Aukati KaiPaipa based at Te Oranganui Iwi Health Authority, and the Quit Clinic. Medical practices and GPs are great first points of contact for advice on becoming smokefree together with the national Quitline service on 0800 778 778. 
Aukati KaiPaipa: Phone 0800 004 504 or 3490007
The Quit Clinic: Phone 0800 200 249 or 3492360