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An overhaul of smoking cessation services has had a significant impact on quit rates, Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner says.

Sixteen new regional smoking cessation services began operating in July last year with the aim of better supporting smokers who need help to quit, especially Māori, Pacific and pregnant women.

“So far over 9000 people have enrolled in the new services, but what’s really telling is the significant improvement in the overall quit rate,” Ms Wagner says.

“The rate has jumped from 34 per cent in 2014/15 to 44 per cent for the year to date.

“International evidence shows high quality stop smoking services can lead to a quit rate of 50 per cent. Some of the new services have already achieved this and others are on track to do so.

“Counties Manukau has one of the most successful programmes, with quit rates of 57 and 55 per cent for its Maori and pregnant clients respectively.

“These results are partly due to a successful incentives programme, which provides pregnant women with vouchers for achieving milestones, including remaining smoke-free. The service is also well integrated into the local community and responsive to clients’ needs.”

All new cessation services are part of regional tobacco control networks and liaise closely with local partners and key stakeholders, sharing ideas and practices to improve their performance.

“The Government is committed to making New Zealand smokefree by 2025 through a wide range of evidence-based interventions, including implementing standardised packaging, legalising e-cigarettes and broadening smokefree policies at the local and regional level,” Ms Wagner says.

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