Aiming for 1000 less Maori smokers in Northland every year

Ngati Hine Health Trust stop smoking practitioners Nelly Orupe and Kauangarua Kingi.

Ngati Hine Health Trust stop smoking practitioners Nelly Orupe and Kauangarua Kingi.

Ngati Hine Health Trust is part of a collective aiming to get 1000 Maori in Northland to quit smoking every year until 2025.

Kaiarahi supervisor Kapua Nathan says this will help the region to align with the Government's goal that by 2025, fewer than five per cent of the population will be smokers.

The 2103 Census reports smoking prevalence in Northland is 19.1 per cent, which is higher than the national rate of 15 per cent.

The rates for particularly high among Maori, with 32.7 per cent nationally and 33.9 per cent in Northland.

Nathan says the aim is to get more smokers making more quit attempts using Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) more often.

She says their driving theme is "It's about whanau" which allows others to support and encourage their friends and family on their quit journey.

Nathan says they have seen the biggest gains in smoking cessation through the use of 'Quit Hubs'.

The hubs are in secondary schools, workplaces and training providers throughout Northland.

Nathan says the hubs provide support, free Nicotine Replacement Therapy and access to a qualified stop smoking practitioner.

"Support and treatment triples your chance of quitting."

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She believes the regular, free and accessible nature of the hubs is what has made them so successful.

"It's all about making people feel good about it [quitting] too."

She says their other focus is on reducing initiation for young people.

"Lots of people are aware it's not good for them."

Nathan says it's a two-pronged approach - getting adults to quit smoking and providing preventative education to those in their care.

"It's the best thing you can do for yourself and your whanau."

She says days such as World Smokefree Day on May 31 can influence behaviour change.

"It's on their calendar, they can use it as a motivation to start or a celebration since they last smoked."

* A pop-in Quit Hub is open weekdays from 9.30am to 3.30pm at Ngati Hine's office at 115 Bank St. No appointments required. Or call 099727937 to speak to a qualified sop smoking practitioner.

 - Stuff

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