Jan 2010

Kiwis need psychological help to quit smoking

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According to smoking cessation specialist Dr Hayden McRobbie, the key to any quit smoking effort is to get psychological assistance.

hayden_mcrobbie2Dr Hayden McRobbie, a Senior Lecturer at the Auckland University of Technology, and Smoking Cessation Specialist says that psychological encouragement is the key to helping a smoker quit permanently.

In New Zealand there are 5,000* deaths caused by smoking-related diseases every year – while many smokers are determined to stop Dr McRobbie says most are ill-prepared.

Dr McRobbie says most smokers try the ‘cold turkey’ approach which is actually associated with the lowest chances of quitting long-term.

“Stopping smoking can be difficult for some people and many don’t last even a few days when they quit on their own. During the quitting process people often forget the reasons why they wanted to quit – reminding them of these reasons can motivate people to stay stopped”, he says.

Dr McRobbie says the chances of quitting permanently are increased 300% if a smoker seeks the best treatment – a combination of medicine and psychological support.

“Stopping smoking is the best thing a person can do to prevent the risk of an early death. There are no magic cures for smoking, however we are fortunate to have access to many treatments that make quitting smoking easier and increase the chances of stopping smoking for good.”

Dr McRobbie says current figures show that half of all smokers will die as a consequence of smoking and half of these people will die in middle-age and not be around to see their children and grandchildren grow up unless they stop smoking.

Current research** proves that getting support from stop smoking programmes significantly increases the chances of quitting for good compared to going it alone.

A new programme utilising interactive technology to provide ongoing support for smokers has just launched in New Zealand.

The ACTIVESTOP® programme, created by a Norwegian Professor of Psychology, offers a number of personalised support messages via text, emails, web and interactive voice response technologies.

The ACTIVESTOP® support programme also features a 24-hour-a-day Craving Help-line which plays a recording of the consumer’s voice to remind them of their reasons for quitting. In some cases those desperate to quit have used their children’s and partner’s voices as a verbal conscience.

Research** shows that combining a system such as the ACTIVESTOP® programme with a nicotine replacement therapy like NICORETTE® products more than doubles a smoker’s chances of successfully quitting smoking compared to will-power alone.

The 14 week ACTIVESTOP® programme is made up of three distinct phases designed to give the smoker support and encourage them to stay smoke-free.

The ‘prep phase’ of the program utilises motivational techniques to help the committed quitter and give them the best possible chance of succeeding.

The programme concludes with 7 days of advice and mentoring on how to stay smoke-free for life – giving the consumer the tools to cope in any future situations where the temptation to smoke may arise.

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Fleur Revell
Fleur Revell is one of the country’s most eminent PR consultants and public relations practitioners with more than 20 years industry experience behind her. Fleur is also a three times Qantas Media Awards winner and Feature Writer of the Year; and has an exceptional working knowledge of the New Zealand media landscape and its accelerating evolution in the digital age.
Kiwis need psychological help to quit smoking
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