The New Year is traditionally a time for many people around the world to decide to quit smoking. There is help at hand for making the resolution stick.
Northern NSW Local Health District Health Promotion Manager, Jillian Adams, says a great first step for someone wanting to quit smoking, is to ring the Quitline for support.
“January is often when people start to think about making a fresh, healthy and smoke-free start to the year. The benefits are enormous.
“Within a day of being smoke free, the carbon monoxide level in a smoker’s blood has decreased dramatically and within a week your tastebuds come alive, your sense of smell improves and your breath, hair, fingers, teeth and clothes are cleaner,” Ms Adams said.
Ms Adams says smokers who go tobacco-free are giving a gift to their families.
“In children, breathing environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) can lead to bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma and other illnesses. And children of smokers are four times more likely to become smokers themselves.”
“While the overall smoking rate has declined to 15%, we know there are communities where smoking remains prevalent.”
Ms Adams said tobacco smoking causes around 6,850 deaths and 62,979 hospitalisations a year in NSW and remains one of the leading causes of preventable disease and death in Australia.
In 2018-19 the Government is investing more than $13.5 million on tobacco control. This includes public awareness and education campaigns, quit smoking support, compliance and enforcement of smoke-free laws, and targeted programs for vulnerable groups.
As part of the 2018 Innovation in Cancer Control grants, the NSW Government, through the Cancer Institute NSW, awarded almost $1.2 million in funding for four innovative, locally run tobacco control projects. Projects driven by organisations that have trusted relationships within the community are important to delivering engaging and culturally appropriate health messages directly to people most at risk.
“Using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), such as lozenges, patches, gum or inhaler, can help smokers quit by reducing their withdrawal symptoms when stopping smoking.”
Ms Adams advises people who are planning to quit to:
- Set a date – in January and stick with your decision to quit.
- Get organised – write a list of reasons for quitting such as health, finances and children. Remind yourself of the reasons by putting the list on your fridge, in the car, by the phone and in your wallet.
- Get some support – ask your family, friends and work mates to help with your attempt to quit. They can help distract and refrain from smoking around you, if they smoke themselves.
- Find a ‘QUIT BUDDY’ – for mutual encouragement and support.
- Call the free Quitline 137 848 / 13QUIT – a Quitline advisor can also ring you when you need support and encouragement.
- Identify smoking patterns – when do you enjoy smoking the most? What events trigger your need to smoke? Keep a diary and plan what to do instead of smoking.
- Plan ahead – many people quit ‘cold turkey’ – relying on willpower alone. However, if that’s not for you, nicotine replacement therapy can double your chances of having a successful quit attempt, particularly if you are moderately or highly nicotine dependent (if you smoke within 30 minutes of waking up or smoke 10+ cigarettes per day); try a quit smoking course or talk to your GP.
- Get a piggy bank – put the money you would spend on cigarettes in a piggy bank or jar and watch the money grow. Make a list of what you can spend the money on.
Smokers can start planning now for their quit attempt by calling the Quitline on 137 848 for advice, support and a Quit Kit.
For information on how to quit smoking: Visit www.iCanQuit.com.au