WELLINGTON, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- An overhaul of smoking cessation services in New Zealand has had a significant impact on quit rates, Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner said on Tuesday.
Sixteen new regional smoking cessation services began operating in July last year with the aim of better supporting smokers who need help to quit. So far, more than 9,000 people have enrolled in the new services, but "what's really telling is the significant improvement in the overall quit rate," Wagner said in a release.
The rate has jumped from 34 percent in 2014-2015 to 44 percent for the year to date, Wagner said, adding that international evidence shows high quality stop smoking services can lead to a quit rate of 50 percent. Some of the new services have already achieved this and others are on track to do so.
"These results are partly due to a successful incentive program, which provides pregnant women with vouchers for achieving milestones, including remaining smoke-free," she said, adding that 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, Wagner said.
The government is committed to making New Zealand smokefree by 2025 through a wide range of evidence-based interventions, including implementing standardized packaging, legalizing e-cigarettes and broadening smokefree policies at the local and regional level.