Whanganui Stop Smoking Service achieves outstanding result in first year

25 September

Whanganui Stop Smoking Service, Nga Taura Tuhono, is celebrating its first year knowing that, compared with all other New Zealand ‘quit’ services, they have achieved the highest rate of engagement with people who smoke – and more importantly, that many of those people have quit altogether.

Whanganui Stop Smoking Service clinical director Dr John McMenamin says while the Ministry of Health had set a target last year for New Zealand’s quit services to engage with five percent of smokers in their region, the Whanganui service exceeded the target by engaging with 9.2 percent of the region's smokers.

“And furthermore, with the help of carbon monoxide meters, 43 percent of those people were validated as having quit,” Dr McMenamin says.

“Understandably the five organisations who make up the Whanganui Stop Smoking Service - Whanganui Regional Health Network, Te Oranganui, Health Solutions Trust, Taihape Health and Whanganui District Health Board – are delighted with this result.

“We attribute this success to three factors: A strong partnership between providers; integration with general practice, the hospital and other health providers; and importantly, a highly skilled and approachable quit team whose efforts resulted in a high number of word-of-mouth referrals.

“More than 1500 people have been referred to, or walked into one of the service's centres at the Quit Clinic in Wicksteed Street, the Te Oranganui campus, Gonville Health, Marton Health Centre, and school and community sites in Taihape and Raetihi,” Dr McMenamin says.

“Last year, the number of people living in the Whanganui region who smoke dropped to 9000 so with more than 500 people committing to a definite quit date over the last year, this number is falling by the day.” 

Dr McMenamin says the Whanganui Stop Smoking Service plans to build on its success by offering an incentivised programme to help pregnant women to stop smoking. Midwives, GPs and practice nurses are working together on this approach. The service is also raising awareness of its services through Facebook and other social media.

The Whanganui Stop Smoking Service says everyone involved in helping people to stop smoking through this shared approach to smoking cessation, can be very proud of what has been achieved in one year.

For further media comment please contact WDHB communications manager Sue Campion on 021 246 8126 or 06 348 3170.