Smoking rates continue to decline

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According to statistics released by Statistics New Zealand, fewer aduls in New Zealand are smoking today than they were 15 years ago.

The most recent tobacco use report released by the Ministry of Health, and based on data collected by Statistics New Zealand has found a significant decrease in daily and current (daily, weekly and monthly) smoking in New Zealand.   In 1996/97, a quarter (25%) of the adult population reported being current smokers and by 2012/13 this rate had dropped to 18%, equating to around 600,000 people.

The decline in smoking prevalence is occurring at different rates among different population groups. For example, the 15–19 year olds showed the largest relative decline in current smoking prevalence (36%) between 2006/07 and 2012/13. In comparison, those aged 65–74 years and 25–34 years showed 27% and 13% relative declines respectively.

The ABS’s Louise Gates said that the new data gives a more accurate and current snapshot of the state of Australia’s health to policy makers.

“Across the board, smoking rates reflect a decrease over the last 15 years, particularly for people under 45 years. In 2014-15, 16 per cent of adults under 45 years smoked daily, compared with 28 per cent in 2001. However, there are still around 2.6 million adult Australians who smoke daily”.

Smoking still remains a serious health concern for New Zealand, reportedly killing an average of 5,000 people per year – approximately 13 per day.

In addition to the direct health risks, smokers have to pay more for various types of insurance.

Interestingly, most smokers surveyed had tried to quit smoking in the past 12 months with almost two-thirds (64%) quitting smoking for at least 24 hours and almost 6 out of 10 (58%) quitting smoking for at least a week.

5 ways for you to quit smoking

Quitting smoking can be extremely hard, and can take a lot out of you. But hopefully, if you’re a smoker looking to quit, one of these five methods will work for you.

Nicotine patches

Nicotine replacement therapy (patches, lozenges and gum – known as NRT) is an invaluable aid in helping people quit smoking. The New Zealand government offers low-cost NRT through the Quitline and the distribution of Quitcards, which can be exchanged at pharmacies for nicotine products.

These medications reduce your withdrawal symptoms, such as cravings and mood swings, but do not eliminate them altogether. If your withdrawal symptoms return, you might want to try the next method.

Coaching

Guidance from a professional advisor can help you manage your smoking habits and provide support in times of need. A good coach:

  • Helps you organise yourself and offers reminders
  • Helps you work out why you need to quit
  • Builds confidence and encourages
  • Helps you learn new skills to manage cravings and withdrawals

The link above gives some examples of high-quality coaches.

Have an anti-smoking jar

A more unorthodox method, you can find a clear jar. Whenever you feel the urge to smoke, place any change you have on you into the jar. This will provide you with a monetary incentive to quit. And if you are successful, you can treat yourself to something nice!

Throw away anything that reminds you of cigarettes

Things like matches, lighters, ashtrays or just plain old cylindrical objects can act as a kind of trigger to your old smoking habits. Throw them away! You won’t need them anymore. At the very least, store them somewhere out of sight.

Hypnotherapy

This article can provide a more detailed explanation.

Hypnosis can be a highly effective for quitting. Surprisingly, no other known method comes close to the success rate that hypnotherapy has, with a success rate of 66%. This is more than twice as high as the second most effective method (nicotine patches), which has a 25% success rate.

However, it can be more costly than other methods, and it can be difficult to find a high-quality hypnotherapist. If the other methods don’t appeal to you however, then why not give it a go?

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