There are a number of free smoking cessation support services available in New Zealand. These include QuitNow.NZ an online telehealth counselling, encouraging & resourceful website & expert moderated online community.
Smokers want more access to counselling services to help curb their addiction according to new research.
A nationwide Shosha study of over 3,600 past and current smokers showed they felt current methods aren't working and that more counselling services were needed.
The research showed two thirds (65%) of Kiwis who had or were attempting to quit smoking said New Zealand needs more dedicated smoking support services such as counselling to help people quit smoking.
The study also found Kiwi smokers had tried a number of products and services to help them quit smoking. Three quarters (76%) had used e-cigarettes containing nicotine, with almost four in ten (38%) using nicotine replacement therapy, a quarter (23%) had turned to a friend of family member, and a fifth (21%) had contacted Quitline or Aukati KaiPaipa. A further fifth (19%) had asked their GP for assistance.
Despite the varying options available smokers said they felt unsupported with the current options available to them.
Addictions specialist Leanne French from QuitNow.NZ, a free smoking cessation telehealth support service, says the Shosha research shows smokers themselves believe that along with restricting access to cigarettes they need targeted support to help them through the behavioural modification needed to help them give up the habit for good.
"Nicotine is both a stimulant and a sedative and has a physiological impact on the body, those wanting to quit need to focus on what behaviours they need to adopt to help them quit; they need the right skills, a plan and support," she says.
“Quitting can unmask underlying emotional issues, and expose triggers, cravings and withdrawal symptoms. But effective interventions such as counselling and online support minimises high risk situations, solves possible problems and increases the motivation and drive needed to overcome barriers, which in turn reduces the need to act on impulses,” she says.
“Behavioural and social connections can be a barrier to quitting, and the fact that cigarettes become linked to certain emotions, thoughts and beliefs. Recognising who they indulge in the habit with, how and why they do it and having the courage to minimise their exposure to cues is really helpful,” she says.
French says stress is a driving factor and quitters need more uplifting resources to learn to feel good in new ways. They need strategies for change, stress reduction tools and wider social and emotional support to help change thoughts, and feelings which in turn changes habits and behaviours.
“Smokers often defend the habit by saying it is one of the ‘only pleasures’ they have left. But cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in New Zealand and contributes to over 5,000 deaths every year,” says French.
Nabhik Gupta, spokesperson for Shosha, NZ’s largest retailer of e-cigarettes, says increasing numbers of smokers are looking for support with their smoking cessation plans.
He says Shosha commissioned the research to help better understand the needs of smokers as they transition from tobacco products.
“We talk to smokers everyday who are struggling to kick the habit - they know it is putting their health and finances at risk and yet the barriers to quitting can be considerable.
“What we can see from the new study is that smokers believe it is essential to restrict the supply of cigarettes and at the same time ensure targeted support is available to help them work through the behavioural modification needed at this time,” he says.
Leanne French Bio
Leanne French is a highly skilled, encouraging and empowering Registered Counsellor, Addictions Specialist and Relationship Expert, with 30 years of experience. Her methodology is varied, ranging from CBT to Positive Psychology. An effective motivator, Leanne is creative solutions focused and has a passion for health and wellbeing. Leanne's Iwi is Ngāi Tahu and her Rūnaka is Oraka Aparima.