City Mission tries to flick the habit with a little help

QUIT: Healthy Tasmania managing director Lucy Byrne and City Mission employee Nicky Gray. Mr Gray will try to quit smoking through the program. Picture: Phillip Biggs
QUIT: Healthy Tasmania managing director Lucy Byrne and City Mission employee Nicky Gray. Mr Gray will try to quit smoking through the program. Picture: Phillip Biggs

A group of City Mission employees has been awarded a government grant to help them kick their smoking habits. 

Administered by Healthy Tasmania, the program will see up to 14 City Mission employees supported to quit smoking through a range of free treatments and incentives. 

Nicky Gray is one of 12 employees to sign up for the six-week program, which starts next week. 

I’ve got four granddaughters and I want to be around to see them grow up.

City Mission employee Nicky Gray

“Quitting smoking is constantly in the back of your mind,” he said.

“I’ve spoken to a lot of smokers and it’s in the back of most of their minds – at least 90 per cent of people who smoke want to give it up I think.

“It’s abut preparing your mind and telling yourself you’re a non-smoker in those situations when you really crave it.

“I’ve got four granddaughters and I want to be around to see them grow up.”

Participants in the #mission2quit program will gain free access to Champix medication, counselling and $80 reward vouchers for program participation. 

The program was put together after research into the most effective ways of quitting smoking, according to Healthy Tasmania managing director Lucy Byrne.

City Mission is the first workplace to implement the program, however Ms Byrne said she would like the opportunity to run it for other companies.

“We’ve combined all those elements to provide a really innovative and unique way to support City Mission staff to quit smoking,” she said.

“The workplace is a really good place to improve health and wellbeing.

“We would love to run the program with other workplaces and particularly workplaces that have large staff groups and have high rates of smoking.”

An estimated 16 per cent of Tasmanians are smokers, compared to 14 per cent of people nationally. 

This increased prevalence is particularly seen in the people who come to City Mission for assistance, according to Mr Gray. 

He hopes his journey will help convince those people to also flick the habit.

"I deal with people who are financially stressed and smoking is just another thing,” he said. 

“It could be $80 or $100 a fortnight or more if they stopped to do the real count.

“It would provide them food money and they wouldn’t be coming in to see us as much [if they quit].”