A new year brings a fresh start, and Quit Victoria is encouraging smokers to seize the opportunity to improve their health by butting out for good in 2016.
Quit Victoria Director Dr Sarah White said quitting smoking brought immediate benefits, but for the best chance of success, smokers might want to set a quit date outside the holiday period.
"Quitting smoking is the very best thing you can do for your health and the health of people around you, and a new year is a great time to get rid of bad habits,'' Dr White said.
"We encourage smokers to put quitting at the top of their list of New Year's resolutions, but recommend making a quit date a fortnight later. This allows time for people to put some strategies in place to avoid the situations that trigger cravings.
"In many cases a quit date two weeks after the new year will coincide with people returning to work, when they can set up some new and healthier routines for 2016."
Research released today by Cancer Council Victoria's Behavioural Science Division shows the cost of cigarettes was most frequently nominated by smokers as the thing that helped them make the decision to quit.
In a survey of 278 Victorian adults who had quit smoking within the past five years, 58 per cent of ex-smokers cited the price of cigarettes as a factor in their decision to quit. This was followed by advice from a doctor or health professional (32 per cent); their partner or close friend quitting (29 per cent); and picture health warnings on packs (24 per cent).
Other factors that helped ex-smokers decide to quit were anti-smoking campaigns on television (23 per cent); smokefree areas in public places (20 per cent); and smokefree areas in their workplace (11 per cent).
Dr White said the cost of a leading brand of 25 cigarettes was now over $20, meaning a pack-a-day smoker could save more than $7000 a year by butting out.
"With so many reasons to quit smoking, the question is, why wouldn't you be making a quit attempt this January?" she said.
Dr White said tools available online at www.quit.org.au could help people understand their smoking habits, choose the best way to quit and plan their quit attempt. She encouraged smokers to phone the Quitline on 13 78 48 and, for the cost of a local call, get personalised non-judgemental coaching and advice on understanding individual smoking triggers, and setting a tailored quitting plan.
"Not everyone succeeds the first time they try to quit, and some people will try multiple times before they succeed. An addiction to nicotine isn't an easy thing for some people to beat," Dr White said. "Today there are more former smokers in Victoria than there are current smokers, proving that quitting is absolutely do-able and the best thing you can do for your health and wealth."
For help to quit smoking, contact Quitline on 13 7848