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With the start of 2006 just a few days away, Quit Victoria is encouraging smokers to quit making excuses and plan to start the New Year smokefree.

Stress, worries about weight gain and smoking only low-tar cigarettes are some of the main excuses smokers use to put off a quit attempt, but Quit has reassured smokers there are ways to manage these issues.

Quit's Deputy Director, Ms Suzie Stillman, says it's important for people who smoke to deal with stress to consider the high level of stress that would be involved in coping with a smoking caused disease.

""In the long term, the stress of dealing with a smoking caused disease would far outweigh any notion of short term stress relief for a smoker.""

""The tip for smokers who use cigarettes as a way to unwind is to seek alternative ways of relaxing, such as walking or listening to some of their favourite music.""

Ms Stillman said the fear of gaining weight remained a very common concern preventing quit attempts, particularly amongst women.

"" Many women put off quitting smoking for fear of putting on weight. Although gaining weight after quitting smoking is a worry for many women, it is important to remember that remaining a smoker is more of a health risk.""

 ""Incorporating regular exercise and sensible eating into your daily lifestyle while you are quitting is a good way to ensure that weight gain is not an issue.""

Quit also warned that smokers who choose low-tar cigarettes are vulnerable to the same smoking caused diseases as those who smoke other cigarettes.

""There is no evidence that smokers of 'light' or  mild' cigarettes have less risk of smoking caused diseases than smokers of other cigarettes,"" said Ms Stillman.

""There is no safe way to smoke, and it's a good time of year for smokers to remember the every cigarette is doing you damage message.""

The Quitline anticipates receiving over 5000 calls from people who want to quit smoking in the holiday season, with a further 50 000 people expected to log onto www.quit.org.au to find out how to begin the New Year smokefree.

Ms Stillman says it may be helpful for smokers to make the resolution to quit smoking on New Years' Eve and then set an actual Quit date for two weeks later, perhaps to coincide with returning to work.

""Making your Quit date two weeks into the New Year is often more realistic and can give you time to plan, however it is very important not to put it off for too long.""

The Quitline will be answering calls on 13 QUIT (13 7848) throughout the holiday season to ensure help is on hand to provide free support and guidance to all those smokers who want to start fresh and make this New Year smokefree.

Quit Victoria's Survival tips for the party season

  • Before you go out, make your mind up not to smoke.
  • Go to a smokefree venue, it will reduce temptation.
  • Too much alcohol can lessen your resolve. Make every second drink a non-alcoholic one.
  • Plan ahead for parties and take some sugar-free gum or lollies, and something to hold to keep your hands occupied.
  • Don't be tempted to take along a few cigarettes  just in case'.
  • Practise saying  thanks but I don't smoke' in case you're offered a cigarette. Think of yourself as a non-smoker.
  • Remind yourself why you quit in the first place.
  • Have a quitting buddy or non-smoking friend with you as support.
  • If you are tempted to have a cigarette, do something else, and remember the 4D's – Deep breathe, Drink water, Delay and Do something else.
  • Tell yourself it's OK to go home early if the cravings become to hard.



Edwina Vellar,
Media Manager
ph: (03) 9635 5400
mob: 0417 303 811

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