World COPD Day: Media statement from the Asthma Foundations

Press Release – Asthma Foundation

On the eve of World COPD Day, two COPD campaigners are urging smokers to give quitting a go and change their lives for the good. COPD, which is caused by smoking in more than 80 percent of cases, stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.World COPD Day: Media statement from the Asthma Foundations

15 November 2011

COPD campaigners to smokers: “You are not alone – there’s more help than ever available to quit”

On the eve of World COPD Day, two COPD campaigners are urging smokers to give quitting a go and change their lives for the good.

COPD, which is caused by smoking in more than 80 percent of cases, stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It is the destruction of the breathing tubes in your lungs. The main forms of COPD are emphysema, chronic bronchitis and chronic asthma. About 1 in 7 New Zealanders aged 45 and over has COPD. That’s more than 200 000 people – or more than the population of urban Hamilton.

“Quitting is such a worthwhile thing to do and there’s now so much quitting support available,” say Petera Wahanui, from Lower Hutt. Petera was named a Supreme Achiever in the Māori COPD category in the Asthma Foundation’s 2009 Asthma and Respiratory Achievers Awards.

“We want to make a positive difference by drawing people’s attention to what support there is…you are not alone like we were,” Petera says.

Petera is backed up in his comments by John Hewson from Tokoroa, who, like him, has emphysema.

Petera, and John, both smoked for many years. Petera says the fact that he can’t push himself like he used to is frustrating. Although he works hard to keep himself in shape, he avoids hills, – “except if I’m driving up them’ –and he sometimes has attacks when his lungs “close up” on him. He can only do physical activity for so long before he runs out of puff.

John’s emphysema means that he is on an oxygen machine and is in bed 24 hours a day. Despite being a former boxing coach and playing rugby; he can’t wash the dishes without overexerting himself.

Smokers can take advantage of free, non-judgemental advice by calling the Quitline on 0800 778 778. They can also receive on-line advice from a QuitCoach, have quitting tips and supportive messages texted to their mobile phone and receive weekly email updates on how much money they are saving by not smoking. The Quit Blog – through which former smokers, people currently quitting and others who want to quit can chat – has more than 30 000 registered users.

An 8 week supply of nicotine patches, gum or lozenges costs smokers only $3 if they buy them through Quitline (worth about $200 without the subsidy).

For more information about the Quit Group visit www.quit.org.nz.

ENDS

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