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Invercargill stop smoking coaches say quitting is about finding one’s motivation.

“Find that motivation that’s going to help you get through each day…conquer one day at a time,” said Jo Te Tai, a stop smoking coach at the Southern Stop Smoking Service of Nga Kete Mātauranga Pounamu Charitable Trust.

“It can be a person in their lives who has smoked or a whānau who got sick because of smoking. It can be someone who has conquered their smoking or someone that achieved big stuff without ever smoking that is going to motivate them. It’s about taking what’s going to strengthen them.”

Davina Jones, also a stop smoking coach at the Southern Stop Smoking Service said “Smoking is such a hard thing to give up. So we look at how a cigarette fits into their day.”

Jones said there are different scenarios for different people. Some like to reward themselves with a cigarette. Some who only smoke at a particular time of the day. And there are some who don’t smoke for months and only smokes when they have a drink.

Jones said, “We help them unpack the idea as to why they need that cigarette and how that works for them and then we look at behaviour change.”

Nicotine patches, lozenges and gums, help increase the chances of quitting. But coaches also look at breaking the habit by changing a person’s routine. Importantly, they discuss the person’s belief in themselves that they can do it.

Te Tai believes that each one has the tools within themselves to quit. “They just have to dig deep.”

Stop smoking coaches can participate in the Stop Smoking Practitioner Programme (SSPP) delivered by Inspiring, as a partner organisation in the National Training Service (NTS) to support their practice. The programme leads to the award of a NZQA recognised qualification in Support Work developed by Careerforce, the Industry Training Organisation for the health and wellbeing sectors.

Coaches said the programme supports their practice and verifies that what they’re doing is right. They learn tools and strategies to help people quit for good. Vanessa Wilmshurst who has been smoking since she was 16, is one of them.

The pregnancy with her second child motivated her to finally get help. “I’ve always stopped while I was pregnant but would go back to it after. But this time, I didn’t.”

Now 27, she is proud to say that she has been smoke-free for two years.

“My health is better. I’m not tired all the time. I can taste everything,” Wilmshurst jovially said.

As coaches Te Tai said, “We don’t judge them. We want to be walking with them. We help them shuffle through all the smoke and clear the air so that they can find their motivation.”