More Northland smokers have already contacted the service looking for help to quit so far this year as the price of lighting up rose on January 1.

According to Quitline data, 1200 people from the region got in touch with Quitline last year. That’s 4 per cent of the national contacts made to Quitline where the person’s location is known.

Giving up smoking seems like an age-old New Year’s resolution, and figures show plenty of smokers are still keen to kick the habit as this year begins.

Sixty per cent more smokers from around New Zealand contacted Quitline in the first two days of 2019 than in the same period last year. On January 1, the service received 215 calls, emails and texts. On January 2, the number climbed to 254.

On January 3, Quitline was involved in 270 calls, emails and text conversations.

Chief executive Andrew Slater said Quitline’s busiest time of the year was early January.

He said the organisation received an influx of calls and texts as many smokers made a New Year’s resolution to quit and were also prompted by the annual increase in tobacco prices.

“The cost of smoking, as well as health concerns, are key factors for people who choose to quit. This time of year is when many people place an added focus on their health and wellbeing.”

Prices rose sharply from January 1, reflecting the Government’s 10 per cent tobacco excise tax increase. A series of excise increases on tobacco began in 2010 and are scheduled to end in January 2020.

“What we’ve also seen over the last year is that around 10 per cent of those enrolled in a Quitline programme are using vaping to help them quit cigarettes. Vaping is typically less expensive than smoking cigarettes and can be beneficial for people who haven’t been successful using other methods.”

About 1000 people per week get in touch with Quitline, but this is expected to double to 2000 throughout January.

To contact Quitline go to, free call 0800 778 778 or free text 4006.

Source: NZ Herald


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