Te Mana Hauora O Te Tairawhiti
26 March 2015
Gisborne people are teaming up to stub out a habit that is still rife in the Gisborne community. Smokers are forming teams and pledging to quit smoking for three months, as part of a national competition, the WERO Challenge, which kicks off on 1 April, 2015.
The challenge was launched at Te Wananga o Aotearoa earlier this month (Wednesday 11 March). We now have ten teams signed up says Wero coordinator Di Akurangi from Tairāwhiti District Health.
“Evidence shows that if you smoke you are four times more likely to beat the addiction if you quit in a group. In a group people get a lot of support, there’s more accountability, and a reluctance to let your team mates down. This all helps people succeed – it’s a unified battle. Also the competitiveness of the challenge is a strong motivator, especially when participants are whanau members competing against one another.”
“Lots of organisations are on board to support the challenge. All participants must blow into a device called a smokerlyzer. It checks whether you are a smoker and eligible for the challenge. It measures how many toxins are in body thanks to smoking. The Smoking Cessation Team from Turanga Health will do weekly smokerlyzer tests on each participant to track how they are doing. They provide participants with gum, lozenges and patches to help alleviate cravings, and also deliver weekly mentoring sessions to the teams.”
“To keep challengers active the YMCA are providing three-month access to their gym and bootcamps. Shane Hooks from CrossFit 4010 is offering weekly team training sessions.”
The WERO Challenge was developed by the University of Auckland in a bid to help Maori and Pacific Islanders quit smoking (though anyone can take part). Participants are supported by health practitioners and are tested each week with a smokerlyzer.
The group with the most quitters after three months will win $5000 cash for a charity, community group or marae of their choice. There are also weekly spot prizes.
Medanare Phillips (Whanau Toko i te Ora)
Christina Niania (Whanau Toko i te Ora)
Ora Taukamo (Ararau Up Five)