Kiwi employers encouraged to help staff become smokefree by paying for them to attend stop-smoking courses

Employers are being encouraged to help staff become smokefree by letting them attend quit programmes during work hours.

It's estimated workers taking four cigarette breaks a day end up working an entire month less than their non-smoking colleagues each year.

Now an initiative, funded by the Nelson Marlborough DHB, is working with businesses to establish quit groups.

"Everyone's lifestyles are so busy now," health promoter Gayle Hay told 1 NEWS.

"People finding the time to access the support either in work time or after hours is really really difficult".

Workers meet up weekly for seven weeks and where possible, employers are asked to pay their wages for that time.

"How we're engaging with businesses, is if say their staff are taking four, ten minute breaks a day, it actually works out they're working a month less than non-smokers annually. 

"The other thing is, for smokers, they're taking around three times more sick leave than non-smokers," said Ms Hay.

Nelson woman Lonae Paul was one of the first to sign up, having attempted to kick the habit on her own five times.

"It's easy just to pick up that cigarette and just go for gold again you know. Times get hard and it's just easier to give up," she said.

The support of her workmates and others in the support group has been the breakthrough she needed.

"You feel responsible for giving it everything you've got because you feel like if you pick up that cigarette, you're letting them down as well".

Since completing the programme, Lonae Paul and all other participants in the support group remain smokefree.

Employers are being encouraged to help staff quit smoking by letting them attend programmes during work hours. Source: 1 NEWS



Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern denies she accidentally revealed baby's gender

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has denied she accidentally revealed the gender of her baby during a radio interview this morning.

This afternoon Ms Ardern addressed an interview she gave to More FM this morning where it was suggested she let slip the gender of her and partner Clarke Gayford's baby.

The pair were asked if they were concerned with the baby’s future privacy. Source: 1 NEWS

The Prime Minister caused a fluster when she appeared to say "her" in the interview.

She denied this and said she would need to articulate her words more clearly in the future.

"No I did not, and I know that defending that will get me into a whole other conversation but no, I did not. I think we're going to be playing this game for a while now.

"I'll be clearly articulating all of my words in the future," she said.

The Prime Minister said today her and partner Clarke Gayford are excited "to do this". Source: 1 NEWS

The couple are trying to keep the gender of their first baby to themselves until its scheduled arrival in June.

Ms Ardern caused a flutter when she appeared to say 'her' in a radio interview. Source: 1 NEWS

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Five suspicious fires at nearly completed central Auckland building

Fire and Emergency has dealt with five suspicious fires today at the same building under construction in central Auckland.

A spokesperson says there were four fires this afternoon at the Albert Street site and one on a stove top earlier in the day.

The fires were on levels eight, 10 and 14 of the building, which is just a month away from completion. 

The interior sprinkler system helped to minimise damage and the fires are now out, but investigators remain at the scene. 

At one stage there were 13 fire trucks in attendance.

No one was inside the building at the time of the fires.

It's believed that two fires at the construction site were deliberately lit. Source: 1 NEWS