October 1, 2015

Local community support: a breath of motivation for smokers

Local communities back QUIT4october™ to help friends and family quit smoking for good

Australians are being called on to encourage friends and family who smoke to sign up to a new Lung Foundation Australia smoking cessation and social media initiative, QUIT4october™ that launched today.

The month-long program is being run in four pilot sites across Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria and is dedicated to helping people to quit smoking with the support of their GP and pharmacist in October.

Lung Foundation Australia CEO Heather Allan said 75 per cent of smokers want to quit 1,2 and 40 per cent try at least once per year.3

“Working together at a community level to encourage people to quit smoking is a vital step forward in promoting healthy living and preventing disease,” Mrs Allan said.

“Even though the program launches today, people can sign up at any time throughout the month and start their 31 days from whenever they join,” she said.

Mrs Allan said smoking was the single greatest cause of preventable illness and death in Australia.4  

That’s why we are urging people who smoke to consider this quit attempt,” she said.

“People who quit smoking will experience immediate health benefits7 and avoid the impact of the latest tobacco tax increase, which came into effect last month.”

Research shows the most successful way to quit smoking is with the support of a healthcare professional. Only three to five per cent of unassisted quit attempts are successful compared to up to 30 per cent of those that use healthcare professional support and stop-smoking medication.8,9

Dr Colin Mendelsohn, Tobacco Treatment Specialist said talking to a GP or pharmacist about a personalised quit smoking plan would motivate you, teach practical quitting skills and build a supportive environment for the quitting journey.

“Using medication as part of your quit smoking plan will also increase your chances of quitting by up to three times, 10 and will ease the physical discomfort of nicotine withdrawal and reduce cravings,”11 Dr Mendelson said.

“If people who smoke work with their healthcare professional to achieve their goal of being smoke free for 31 days, they will be at least five time more likely to become a permanent ex-smoker,”12 concluded Dr Mendelsohn.

Central to the pilot program is an interactive website. People wanting to quit smoking should visit www.quit4october.com.au to gather information about quitting smoking, conduct a virtual lung health check and download a checklist to support their conversations with their GP or pharmacist.

In addition, the #QUIT4october competition encourages people to share their QUIT4october™ journey on social media by tagging and uploading inspiring photos of how quitting smoking has positively impacted their lives. Active participation in this social media competition will put residents in a draw to win an iPad*.

* See www.quit4october.com.au for details.

** Terms and conditions apply. See www.quit4october.com.au for details.

QUIT4october™ is championed by Lung Foundation Australia and proudly sponsored by Pfizer PFE Australia Pty Ltd and Johnson & Johnson Pacific.

  

For media enquiries, please contact:

Tanya West

Burson-Marsteller on behalf of Lung Foundation Australia

Tel: (02) 9928 1506 / 0406 907 845

Email: tanya.west@bm.com

 

Elle McGlynn

Burson-Marsteller on behalf of Lung Foundation Australia

Tel: (02) 9928 1542 / 0425 319 321

Email: elle.mcglynn@bm.com

 

Notes to Editors:

About QUIT4october™

  • The initiative, QUIT4october™, is being piloted in four areas across Australia including Ballarat (Victoria), Toowoomba (Queensland), Dubbo (New South Wales) and Ryde (New South Wales).
  • QUIT4october™, will be promoted via radio advertising and at a series of local community events.
  • Posters and brochures will be displayed at various locations in each area, including GP practices and pharmacies.

Stop Smoking – The Facts

  • Approximately three million Australians (nearly 16 per cent of those aged 14 or older) continue to smoke tobacco.6
  • For every year you continue to smoke after 35 you shorten your life expectancy by three months. 13
  • If you quit smoking at 40 years of age, you gain nine years of life and at 60, you gain four years.14
  • Your risk of a heart attack falls by half three to four years after quitting.14
  • The average weight gain after quitting is only two to three kilograms over a five year period15 however one in five quitters actually loses weight.16
  • If you quit smoking a pack of cigarettes a day you are likely to save around $6,500 per year.17

References:

  1. Mullins R., Borland R. Do smokers want to quit? Aust N Z J Public Health 1996; 20(4):426-7.
  2. Accessed Spetember 2015 http://www.iquit4life.com/effects.html
  3. Cooper J., Borland R., Yong H.H. Australian smokers increasingly use help to quit, but number of attemps reamins stable: findings from the International Tobacco Control Study 2002-09. Aust N Z J Public Health 2011; 35(4):368-76.
  4. Begg S., Vos T., Barker B. et al. The burden of disease and injury in Australia 2003. PHE 82. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, p76.
  5. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Regional Population Growth, Australia (3218.0).
  6. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2014. National Drug Strategy Household Survey detailed report 2013.Drug statistics series no. 28. Cat. no. PHE 183. Canberra: AIHW.
  7. Jha P, Ramasundarahettige C, Landsman V, et al. 21st-Century Hazards of Smoking an Benefits of Cessation in the United States. NEJM 2013. 368:341-350.
  8. Hughes JR, Keely J, Naud S. Shape of the relapse curve and long-term abstinence among untreated smokers. Addiction. 2004; 99(1): 29-38.
  9. Fiore M, Jaen C, Baker T, et al. Treating tobacco use and dependence: 2008 update. Rockville MD: USDHHS, U.S. Public Health Service. 2008.
  10. Cahill K, Stevens S, Perera R, Lancaster T. Pharmacological interventions for smocking cessation: an overview and network meta-analysis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013; 5: CD009329.
  11. Zwar N, Richmond R, Borland R, et al. Supporting smoking cessation: a guide for health professionals. Melbourne: The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. 2014. Accessed 28 May 2015 http://www.racgp.org.au/yourpractice/guidelines/smoking-cessation/.
  12. West R., Stapleton J. Clinical and public health significance of treatments to aid smoking cessation. Eur Respir Rev 2008; 17: 110, 199–204. DOI: 10.1183/09059180.00011.
  13. Doll R, Peto R, Boreham J, Sutherland I. Mortality in relation to smocking: 50 years’ observations on male British doctors. BMJ. 2004; 328(7455): 1519.
  14. Teo KK, Ounpuu S, Hawken S, et al. Tobacco use and risk of myocardial infarction in 52 countries in the INTERHEART study: a case-control study. Lancet. 2006; 368(9536): 647-658.
  15. Tian J, Venn A, Otahal P, Gall S. The association between quitting smocking and weight gain: a systemic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Obes Rev. 2015.
  16. Aubin HJ, Farley A, Lycett D, et al. Weight gain in smokers after quitting cigarettes: meta-analysis. BMJ. 2012; 345: e4439.
  17. org.au. Accessed September 2015 http://www.quit.org.au/reasons-to-quit/cost-of-smoking.