Gippsland smokers motivated and planning to quit

24 August 2017 – Download the media release.

Two-thirds of Gippsland smokers intend to quit in the next six months and one-third of them think about quitting every day, new Cancer Council research shows.

A phone survey of 200 Gippsland smokers and recent quitters, conducted in March and April this year, also highlights the importance of local health professionals in helping people quit. Three-quarters of respondents agreed that GPs should discuss smoking at least occasionally during consultations.

The survey was commissioned by Quit Victoria and Gippsland PHN to understand community attitudes and behaviours towards smoking, as part of a broader partnership to improve the health of the Latrobe Valley community.

Across Gippsland, 20% of adults smoke daily or occasionally (current smokers), while in the Latrobe Valley, 24% of adults smoke daily or occasionally. These local smoking rates are significantly higher than the 13% of Victorian adults who are current smokers.

The new Cancer Council survey findings reveal:

  • 51% of Gippsland smokers had made a quit attempt during the past year;
  • 66% of Gippsland smokers intended to quit in the next six months, and 81% wanted to quit “in the future”;
  •  76% of Gippsland respondents felt that doctors should raise smoking with their patients at least sometimes, and 31% thought this should occur at every visit.

Gippsland PHN Acting CEO Amanda Proposch said smoking was a risk factor for many of the main health issues in Gippsland, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and lung conditions.

“One of our key objectives is to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of medical services for all patients, but particularly for those at risk of poor health outcomes. Partnering with Quit, we’re working to really understand smoking and how we can better serve our community to address high smoking rates. I’m so pleased that people recognise their local general practice is a great place to get help to quit,” Ms Proposch said.

Quit Victoria Director Dr Sarah White encouraged Gippslanders to visit their local health professional or call the Quitline for support.

“A lot of people who smoke think they have to quit by themselves using willpower alone, and that simply doesn’t work for everyone,” Dr White said.

“The survey is suggesting the use of proven quitting treatments and supports, like medication and Quitline, is a little low in Gippsland. If you are someone who has tried to quit a couple of times, increase your chance of success next time by calling our Quitline, for the cost of a telephone call, or go and see your doctor.

“Across Victoria there are now more former smokers than current smokers, so quitting smoking is absolutely something you can achieve. It’s the best thing you can do for your health and your hip pocket.”

Tools available at www.quit.org.au can help people understand their smoking habits and choose the best way to quit. Smokers can also speak to their GP, or phone the Quitline on 13 78 48 to get personalised, non-judgmental coaching and advice.

…/ENDS

 

About the Cancer Council survey

In March and April 2017, phone interviews were conducted with 200 people who identified as current smokers or past year quitters and lived in the Gippsland region. The Gippsland region includes residents of the local government areas of Bass Coast Shire, Baw Baw Shire, East Gippsland Shire, Latrobe City, South Gippsland Shire and Wellington Shire.

Quit Victoria is a partnership between VicHealth, Cancer Council Victoria, the State Government of Victoria and the Heart Foundation.

Primary Health Networks (PHNs) have been established with the key objectives of increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of medical services for patients, particularly those at risk of poor health outcomes, and improving coordination of care to ensure patients receive the right care in the right place at the right time. Gippsland PHN is working in partnership with Quit Victoria to address the smoking rates throughout Gippsland.