Above: The Hāpainga team pictured left to right: Walter Harawira Stevie-Lee Hiroki, Candy Blackwell, Monique Rio, Kate Warner and Lizzie Spence.

The Bay of Plenty’s free Stop Smoking Support service, Hāpainga remains one of the top three services in New Zealand for its successful quit smoking rate.

New Zealand has 16 Stop Smoking Support services. As part of the Government’s goal of Smokefree Aotearoa 2025, each service works hard to encourage as many of the community to become Smokefree.  

Smoking cessation practitioners use a carbon monoxide detector, a bit like a breathalyser, at four weeks to verify whether or not a client is smokefree. Low to nil levels of carbon monoxide indicates the person is no longer smoking, at which point they receive a $50 supermarket voucher.

Hāpainga Team Leader Lizzie Spence says, “For the last couple of years, we’ve consistently had a minimum 75% successful quit smoking rate at four weeks – ranked in the top three across the country.

“It’s a great achievement. We’re a small team of five smoking cessation practitioners supporting people to quit across both the Eastern and Western Bay. We understand the struggles people go through trying to quit but also the struggles of buying the smokes. For the average couple smoking 10 tailor-made cigarettes a day, the yearly bill is over $10,000.

“Our team really focuses on treating each client as an individual. Quitting smoking is a real journey. Our team might meet with a client several times before they even set a quit date. Building a rapport and trust with them is crucial to the successful outcome,” says Lizzie.