FIRING UP: Ivan Riddett (left) and Todd Van Den Heuvel are taking advantage of the Hastings Deering program to help workers quit smoking.
FIRING UP: Ivan Riddett (left) and Todd Van Den Heuvel are taking advantage of the Hastings Deering program to help workers quit smoking. Chris Ison ROK101017cquit1

Hastings' Rocky workers fire up to save lives

HASTINGS Deerings has joined the fight to eliminate smoking from the workplace and Ivan Riddett and Todd Van Den Heuvel are among their leading lights.

The pair and Brent Boys are the first to sign up to stop smoking as the big Rockhampton employer rolls out the Central Queensland Health Services' 10,000 Lives campaign.

Hastings Deering's Emergency Service Officer Ashley O'Connor said the health and fitness of his colleagues was important to prevent sick days and to ensure better work performance.

Mr O'Connor believes that the campaign will not just improve the health of those involved and prevent diseases such as cancer and high blood pressure, but will also positively affect other areas of their lives such as their mental health and work performance.

"We are fairly active out here. If something comes up health wise and they can't work for some reason then that directly affects their entire life,” he said.

"If they don't have an income coming in because of health reasons then that can lead to a lot of stress at home and mental health stuff as well.”

Mr O'Connor currently has three workers - Ivan Riddett, Todd Van Den Heuvel and Brent Boys - committed to giving up cigarettes, and believes that with the combined support from Central Queensland Health and pressure from home, the men will be encouraged to stay on the program.

"It's 12 weeks of nicotine replacement products, access to support networks of peers and medical professionals, expert advice, friendly encouragement, and then also the support from us at Hastings Deering.

"It was cascaded from our leading hands to each work group, so it gets brought up in the morning meetings. If we keep asking how they're going with it, hopefully that's enough motivation to keep them on track as well.”

With the increased cost of cigarettes, the smoking ban in pubs and outside public places like hospitals, Mr O'Connor believes that in the future there will be a natural decline in those who choose to smoke.

At the Hastings Deering site, there is only one area where workers can smoke.

"Not being as socially accepted anymore might lead to these people wanting to give it up as well as for health.”

The free 12-week campaign hopes to save the lives of 10,000 smokers, and reduce CQ's current smoking rate which is now at 17%.

For those wanting to learn more about the dangers of smoking and take advantage of the program and the support network provided, email 10000Lives@health.qld.gov.au.



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