Tenterfield people much more likely to smoke

Dr Flora Tzelepis in charge of the research. She wants to know why people in rural areas smoke more and what's the best way of helping them quit.
Dr Flora Tzelepis in charge of the research. She wants to know why people in rural areas smoke more and what's the best way of helping them quit.

It’s the New Year. You may have made a resolution.

And there’s now an easier way of keeping it.

Research shows that people in Tenterfield smoke much more than average Australians.

For every hundred people in Tenterfield there are 19 smokers, according to Emma Byrnes, a researcher at the University of Newcastle, ranking it 47 out of 447 local government areas.

That compares with 16 smokers per hundred across Australia as a whole.

It may not be that Tenterfield is particularly bad but that rural areas in general are bigger smokers, perhaps because quit-smoking help is thinner on the ground. 

But now a new source of help is available. The School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Newcastle wants to test ways of quitting smoking by offering different methods to people in Tenterfield.

The idea is that some try direct face-to-face contact with advisors over Skype or other face-to-face communication like WhatsApp or Face Time. Some would-be quitters would talk to advisers over the phone and some just get written advice.

The researchers suspect that when smokers get face-to-face advice from people they trust, they are more likely to succeed in quitting, but they want to test the hypothesis – and that's why there are the different groups.

If you want to be part of the project, you can apply at this website and click on “Quit smoking study recruiting participants in regional and remote areas.”

It will be completely confidential. No names or identities will be released.

Some may not want to quite smoking but, given that the link between smoking and early death is not in any scientific doubt, the scheme offers benefits both to those who do want to stop and also for society. 

Dr Flora Tzelepis said: "It is important that all people who smoke have access to support services if they are interested in quitting or changing their smoking habits.

“Attending face-to-face services for support can be difficult especially for those who live in regional and remote areas.”

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