SUCCESSFUL quit campaigns now need more individualised support for smokers wanting to butt out for good, a Ballarat health expert says.
New data shows one in 10 Victorian adults take smoke daily with significant drops in smoking rates across regional Victoria and in disadvantaged communities.
Ballarat Community Health prevention general manager Katherine Cape said effective government moves, including smoke-free dining and plain cigarette packaging, had undoubtedly helped lower smoking rates. Ms Cape said the addictive nature of smoking meant those wanting to quit mostly needed extra support.
"Now we're often needing the focus to be more on an individualised level compared to policy level," Ms Cape said. "Eighty per cent of smokers want to quit whatever the age.
The message smoking's not good for health is getting through, but it's about helping people to move from wanting to quit to quitting.
The Grampians health region, including Ballarat, has the state's highest smoking rate with more than one in five adults smoking.
Cancer Council Victoria's latest smoking and health survey, which is not broken into regions, shows people smoking in regional Victoria has dropped from 14.3 per cent to 11.1 per cent.
Smoking among young Victorians has fallen from 15.5 per cent to 10.6 per cent while the proportion of smokers with healthcare cards fell 16.3 per cent to 12.2 per cent.
Ballarat Community Health workers have noticed most clients seeking help to quit were aged 40-plus and with other health conditions. Most have made previous attempts to quit.
Ms Cape said BCH's smoking cessation clinics help people to understand their addiction and habit triggers in a bid to complement quit support tools. Practice nurses work on individual patient needs and follow-ups.
Ms Cape said it was also important a person felt ready to try quitting. Clients in all BCH consultations are asked if they smoked and whether they would consider the smoking cessation clinic, but Ms Cape said a client had to feel it was the right time.
Leading health groups in Victoria say it is possible for this state to be one of the first jurisdictions in the world to reach a target of five per cent smoking prevalence by 2025.
Cancer Council Victoria chief Todd Harper said the number of Victorian smokers would continue to fall - how fast was the question. Mr Harper said the concept of "hardcore" smokers not wanting to quit was not backed up by the latest research.
QUIT'S TOP TIPS WHEN A CRAVING HITS
Put some calming tunes on and (try to) relax. Get rid of any ashtrays and lighters and grab some candles or an air freshener to cover up the smell of smoke.
FIND SOMEONE OR SOMETHING TO DISTRACT YOU
Grab a book or magazine, cook a healthy meal or call a friend. Do something to occupy those crucial minutes and keep yourself busy.
KEEP YOUR HANDS BUSY
Flip a coin, squeeze a stress ball, grab a water bottle, pat your pooch or pick up a pen and start doodling.
KEEP YOUR MOUTH BUSY
Think gum or lozenges, sip some water or eat a healthy snack like nuts or fruit. If all these don't work, try brushing your teeth. You will feel fresh and clean and hopefully the cravings will have passed once you're done.
If you're feeling stressed, go for a brisk stroll around the block or exercise. Make it something you enjoy like yoga, kicking the footy or boxing. Grab a mate to help keep your mind off the smokes.
If you know you'll be craving a cigarette at a certain time, place or in a situation, prepare and change up your routine. Try a fast-acting form of nicotine replacement therapy like mouth spray, gum, lozenge or inhalator a few minutes before you think a craving may hit.
CALL QUITLINE (13 7848)
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