Challenges with smoking?
Encouragement, support and resources to help you quit.
One of the best things you can do for your health is to quit smoking. Smoking affects your performance and it can lead to long-term health issues.
Smoking rates in New Zealand, as per the Ministry of Health Annual Survey show a decrease. From 2019/20 to 2020/21, the percentage of New Zealanders smoking declined from 13.7% to 10.9% and smoking daily declined from 11.9% to 9.4%. More New Zealanders are successfully quitting smoking. It’s not easy, but with a positive frame of mind, discipline and support, it's achievable.
This section explains what smoking can do to your body and gives a starting point to help you quit.
The impacts of smoking
The NZ Ministry of Health, reports 5000 deaths every year related to smoking and second-hand smoke. That’s more deaths than from drowning, suicide and motor vehicle accidents combined.
Around two-thirds of smokers who continue smoking, will eventually suffer significant illness or death related to tobacco. Notably, long-term smokers will die an average of 10 to 15 years earlier than non-smokers.
Most people who smoke will experience effects on their overall health at some point in their life:
- Smoking increases the risk of developing cancers of the lung, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, pancreas, cervix, colon and rectum (colorectal), stomach and bladder.
- Smoking is a major cause of vision loss/impairment.
- Smoking increases the risk of developing diseases of the urinary tract, pelvis, bladder and digestive tract.
- 40% of all strokes in people aged under 65 years are caused by smoking.
- 40% of heart disease in those under 65 is caused by smoking.
- Smokers have two-to-three times the risk of having a sudden cardiac death (when the heart suddenly stops beating) than non-smokers.
- During pregnancy, inhaled smoke enters your bloodstream and passes through the placenta to the baby affecting your baby’s health.
Other reasons to quit
- Do it for your family - children with smoking parents are up to six times more likely to start smoking.
- Do it for long-term health benefits - health benefits kick in very soon after your last cigarette.
- Do it for your budget - giving up smoking half-a-pack a day can save over $70 a week. Check out how much smoking costs you here.
It's not easy to quit – but don’t give up hope
Many people aren’t successful the first time. But that doesn’t mean they’ve failed. It’s just the first step in their quit journey – the important thing is to keep trying and try different things. Most people find quitting with a buddy, and with friends and family supporting them, provides the best opportunity for success. Smoking cessation or nicotine replacement therapy may also help.
You can see the benefits of stopping smoking here.
- If you want help to quit at work, contact your Defence Health Centre, or Occupational Health Nurse.
- Quitline is a 24/7, phone and online, nationwide service of Quit Advisors who work with smokers to help make a plan to quit. Phone 0800 778 778 or text 4006.
- Join the Quitline blog or facebook page for online support from others going through the same thing.
- Register free on the website for supportive phone calls and regular text messages, with tips to keep on track.
- Find information and local help in your region to stop smoking with Smokefree.
- Or for those that would prefer it, phone apps such as Goal Post can help.
- Find your local stop smoking services.
From smoking to vaping
Quitting smoking can be tough. Vaping is a way to quit cigarettes by getting nicotine with fewer of the toxins that come from burning tobacco. You get to stay social, spend less, and once you’ve quit smoking you’ll feel better for it.
There are lots of different opinions and beliefs about vaping. Vaping is not without risk of harm but it has the potential to help smokers quit.
The Ministry of Health and the Health Promotion Agency/Te Hiringa Hauora are supported by a number of other organisations in their position on vaping.
- Vaping is not for children or people under the age of 18.
- Vaping is not for non-smokers
- Vaping is not harmless but it is much less harmful than smoking
- Vaping can help some people quit smoking
For support and advice reach out to the support services above.
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