Taranaki people will have more help than ever to go smokefree this summer thanks to Pinnacle Midlands Health Network.
Every medical centre in Taranaki can refer people to the network's new quit coach, Jan Stewart, who can provide free advice and support to people wanting to give up the cigarettes in 2016.
People have an initial session with Jan then 4, 8 and 12 week follow ups. She can also supply nicotine replacement in the form of patches, gum and lozenges for those wishing to use this to help with the nicotine cravings when quitting.
Jan will phone patients in between these face to face appointments to help with relapse prevention and to continue to help patients with motivation to quit and stay smokefree.
Pinnacle regional services coordinator Sarah Wood said that Jan can provide the support needed to help kick off the year in a healthier way, and stay that way,
"Many people who want to smoke are keen to quit. Having sustained support from a quit coach ensures more people make the attempt to quit and those that do are more likely to keep it up," says Sarah.
"Jan is a Taranaki local who has a background in the health and fitness industry, she'll be there to help people take that important first step and provide positive support to help them stay smokefree.
"She can even offer group sessions if you want to get a group of work colleagues, sports team, friends together to support each other to quit.
"The huge health benefits aside, with cigarettes forecasted to cost around $20, a pack-a-day smoker would be spending $140 a week, or more than $7,000 per year on cigarettes. Stay smokefree for 10 years and that's $70,000 saved."
The scheme is being supported by Pinnacle Midlands Health Network, who are holding a monthly prize draw between January and June for a $50 grocery voucher (excluding cigarettes and alcohol) for those people who have enrolled in the programme and quit for 12 weeks or longer.
Former smoker David* was recently referred to the service, he says the positive approach and the consistent follow ups are what's helping him stay off the cigarettes, so much so that he's now recommended that friends and family ask their doctor about it.
"She's so supportive and non-judgemental and really listens to what you have to say. I've tried many times to quit, with the big tough guy approach of not needing any help and the wheels fell off every time. I've realised that I can't do it on my own and luckily Jan arrived at the right time for me," he said.
"The service is really neat, Jan always calls when she says she will and she's now part of my pathway going forward."
If you would like to be referred to see Jan in 2016, speak to your GP or contact her on 06 759 4364. For the details of your local Pinnacle practice, visit www.itsmyhealth.co.nz.
*names have been changed to protect patient privacy.
Photo: Taranaki quit coach Jan Stewart provides free advice and support to people wanting to give up smoking.