It all started when...

The Ministry of Health announced on 1 July 2016 that a major change was needed to the services that are helping New Zealanders to become smokefree. The Ministry noted that the goal of a Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 would be unlikely if a business as usual approach to tobacco control services continued. This followed a review and a 15-month process of realigning the services.

The Ministry has outlined its expectations of the new stop smoking services, including high quality, client-centric, evidence-based, and focused on the local needs of the population and prioritisation of Māori, Pacific and pregnant women who smoke.

For more information on the reasons for the change, visit the Ministry of Health website www.health.govt.nz

How has the service been designed? Have health professionals and people who smoke been involved?

People who smoke and professionals who support those to stop smoking (including GPs, nurses, quit coaches) have been involved in the design and development of this Stop Smoking Service in Auckland & Waitemata, as well as advising on the awareness raising and future promotion of the service. This has been key to understanding what support people want when they’re stopping smoking and making the service ‘client-centric’.

During consultation with consumers, people who smoked indicated the value of ‘giving up in a group’. Therefore the option for group-based sessions is a core component of this programme. Research studies in the UK and New Zealand have also shown that the supportive benefits that come from group-based therapy, have a positive impact on people abstaining from smoking.

Group-based sessions will not be the best fit for everyone though and being flexible is a key part of this Stop Smoking Service. This is why the programme also offers one-to-one sessions in an environment where the individual is most comfortable.

How will you know if the service has been successful?

The Ministry of Health has set clear targets for all providers of the new, regional stop smoking services. This includes having 5% of the local population who regularly smoke enrolled in the programme with 50% achieving validated quit rates at the 4-week follow-up. In the case of the Stop Smoking Service in Auckland & Waitemata, this will mean 5,372 being enrolled in the programme with half achieving a validated quit rate by the end of the 4-week programme. These are challenging targets, but ProCare and The Fono are committed to achieving this goal. Together, and by working with other community partners, we have the knowledge and breadth to reach priority populations of Māori, Pacific, and pregnant women, making a collective impact to decrease smoking rates.

Feedback from people who have used the service will also be a key indicator of whether the service is successful. We will be regularly surveying those who have been through the programme to gauge their satisfaction with the service and to see how we can improve.