More than 79 Queensland energy workers and their partners have saved $544,000 in two years by giving up smoking through an initiative set up by Ergon Energy.
Ergon’s Quit Smoking Program is one of several initiatives to assist employees self-manage their health.
Health and wellbeing advisor Jackie Male said the benefits are physical, psychological and economical.
“To perform at your best you have to be at your best. A health assessment conducted in 2013 highlighted that smoking was a health issue for many employees. Our workplace quit smoking program was introduced as a way to address a health issue and link employees with support, information and resources,” she said.
Ms Male said the program, similar to the Queensland Health program, has been an outstanding success.
“We’ve had 103 staff and their partners voluntarily go through the program with a 70 per cent success rate since it was introduced in 2014,” she said.
The quit smoking program worked for Ergon works planning officer Melina Lamanna and her partner Barry, who kicked the habit last year.
“I hated the smell, the cost, how it made me feel sick. No one in our circle of friends or family smoked and I was embarrassed to smoke around them.”
She and Barry have spoken many times about quitting over the years, however, it wasn’t until the pair joined Ergon’s program that they quit for good.
“But I stuck with it, and he signed up for the program two weeks after I did. We both used the free patches and gum, and Barry also found the phone calls from the quit program team quite helpful,” Melina said.
“Barry, along with my family and friends were all very supportive, and still are. Everyone’s very keen to see how much money I’ve saved and how much life I’ve regained. It’s all calculated on my Quit App. The reality check is pretty amazing.
“We sleep better, exercise more by taking our dogs down to the beach for a run, and eat better. And I can confirm that not everyone puts on weight, because it’s actually easier to get out and about.”