10:51pm Tuesday 19 September 2017

WERO group quit smoking competition goes national

Whanau End smoking Regional whanau Ora challenge (WERO) involves teams of 10 regular smokers who compete to have the most quitters after three months and win $5,000 cash for their community group or marae.

It was developed with Maori and Pacific smokers in mind, focusing on teams rather than individuals, being competitive and giving communities a chance to raise money for a good cause.

The first competition between Māori and Pacific teams from Auckland and Northland had an end of contest quit rate of 36 percent. This compares well against the estimated four percent of people who quit without any support.

A second competition between Northland and Ngati Kahungunu in the Hawke’s Bay had similarly high rates of quitting with all ten members in the Northland winning team quit and two top teams in Hawkes Bay reaching nine out of ten smoke-free.

The competition was developed by the Centre for Tobacco Control Research at The University of Auckland as part of a new research programme, the Tobacco Control Research Tūranga, funded by the Reducing Tobacco-related Harm partnership between the Ministry of Health and the Health Research Council of New Zealand.

“WERO brings smokers together to support each other with quitting,” says Dr Marewa Glover, Director of the Centre for Tobacco Control Research at The University of Auckland. “It’s almost like a do-it-yourself or do-it-together approach although plenty of expert stop smoking support is offered by WERO and existing stop smoking services if teams want it.”

“The national competition is open to teams from anywhere in New Zealand. “We’re expecting at least 15 teams from the South Island, more than 15 just from Auckland and lots more from throughout the North Island. We could end up with four competing regions each vying for a $5,000 prize”, she says.

WERO uses social media and mobile technologies such as a website, iPad and iPhone app to display how all the teams are doing, and the WERO Facebook keeps team members and supporters updated. Team members can stay in touch with each other online, ask questions about their withdrawals symptoms and receive expert advice to help them win.

The NZTCR Turanga team is holding a series of free community training workshops in the North Island this month. Participants will include health promotion and smoking cessation workers, as well as key community leaders and members of the public. The first will be held this Friday 5th July in Auckland followed by Otaki on July 9th and Rotorua on July16th. Interested people should contact Toni Hunter Laird at t.laird@auckland.ac.nz or phone 09 3737599 ext 85046.


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