Quit experts on hand this week

A partnership between the Gippsland Primary Health Network and Quit Victoria aims to make it easier for Latrobe Valley residents to part with their cigarettes.

The partnership will provide training for health practitioners based on the latest research in smoking cessation and aims to give general practitioners, pharmacists, practice nurses, dentists and oral hygienists “fast and simple” information on how to help their patients quit smoking

“We were really responding to what GPs in the Latrobe Valley had told us,” Quit Victoria director Sarah White said.

Latrobe Valley residents won’t have to visit their doctor to access these resources, however.

This week, smokers and their family members will be able to visit one of three stalls providing information on how to break the habit.

Dr White said the initiative grew out of consultation between Quit Victoria and local organisations.

“We really need to respond to the community feedback about being there for the community, and being available to provide advice where we can to show we are actually there for community,” Dr White said.

“It’s really just an opportunity for anyone just thinking about quitting, or haven’t thought about it and maybe think they should come and have a chat.”

Dr White said there would be highly trained smoking cessation specialists at the stalls that could help people devise “practical strategies” to give quitting a go, without being the “quit police”.

Gippsland PHN chief executive officer Marianne Shearer said current smoker rates in Latrobe were 24.4 per cent, and 29.7 per cent in Baw Baw, compared to the state average of 13.1 per cent.

These new efforts to help the community quit smoking form part of the Latrobe Health Innovation Zone.

The information stalls will run inside Stockland Traralgon shopping centre, Traralgon, on Monday, 5 June from 9am to 5.30pm, inside Mid Valley Shopping Centre, Morwell, on Tuesday, 6 June from 9am to 5.30pm, at Moore Street Tavern, Moe, on Wednesday, 7 June from 9am to 1pm, and at IGA Churchill on Wednesday, 7 June from 2pm to 6pm.