Quit Café under threat

COFFS Harbour’s free quit-smoking courses will butt out this week after 11 years unless the community comes to the rescue.

The Mid North Coast Division of General Practice (MNCDGP) has been running free quit groups since 1999.

For many years it was run as the popular Quit for CATS (Chronically Addicted Tobacco Smokers), and in the past two years as the Quit Café, a monthly support group that gave assistance to people at all phases of quitting.

The philosophy of the Quit Café was very supportive, non-judgmental and based firmly in science and the real struggles of modern life.

The program involves support from other people who want to quit and health professionals who can advise smokers on an individual basis about the best way to quit.

The Quit Café is now under threat of closure due to lack of funding. The MNCDGP used to be able to fund programs but with restricted amounts of money received from the government, external funding was sought last year from Trust Australia and the Quit Café was able to continue with generous help from the Woodend Foundation.

The Quit Café was unable to attract further funding this year, so unless a solution is found urgently the last Quit Café will be run today.

Over the past 11 years more than 700 local smokers have been helped.

The University of New South Wales Rural Clinical School has conducted research to see how effective these groups have been.

This research has shown that attending the groups increases the chances of quitting successfully by 500 per cent. Many participants who have chronic illnesses have benefited enormously from the program as have smokers of all ages, from all walks of life. Dr Gillian Gould said they were appealing or people in the community to donate the price of a pack of cigarettes to help keep the program going.

“If each of the 700 smokers who have attended these courses at no charge donated the price of one pack of cigarettes, the Quit Café could keep going for another year,” Dr Gould said.

For more information please contact Patricia Jones on 6651 5774.

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