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A Rangatahi’s Journey to quit

I have been working with a 15 year old boy of Fijian descent. He had previously been on the programme and had managed to cut down. When I first met him, he walked in and laid his head on the table not sure whether he wanted to quit or not. He was smoking up to 2 packets of cigarettes a day. He told me he used to buy cigarettes from a dairy that his friends’ dad owned, and would take them to school and smoke with his friends before school, after school and during morning tea and lunch.

As well as cigarettes, this young boy was also smoking marijuana, and at least twice a week, would smoke in the morning and go to school high. He came onto the programme, quit and said he felt good about being able to quit cigarettes although he was still smoking marijuana. He continued to smoke marijuana then eventually took smoking tobacco back up not long after he quit.

The next time I saw this young person, he said he was out of breath again and said he was really serious about quitting and wanted to quit for his health. In our first session we made a plan together about what triggered him to smoke and what else he could do to fill in the times he would usually go and smoke.

In the following weeks we would talk about his struggles, cravings and urges and how he coped with his stresses. He started staying inside during his lunch breaks and hanging out with friends that were non-smokers instead of going with his smoking friends. He’s very passionate about cars and so after school he would work on his car to distract him from smoking. He gradually cut down then finally quit smoking cigarettes. A week after he quit cigarettes, he stopped smoking marijuana as well because he said he finally realised he was still getting smoke in his lungs and it was making him get out of breath easily.  

On our last session, I saw a big change from when I first saw him. He came in smiling with confidence and hugged me thanking me for helping him quit because it was hard for him to quit in the past. I told him it was because of his motivation and the change of his mind-set that got him to quit and stay quit but he continued to thank me saying he would have never been able to do it if I wasn’t helping him.

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I thought I would never be smokefree, look at me today. Charmaines Story

I started smoking as a young girl and had been smoking for 50 years, I thought I would never get there, never be smokefree and look at me today. This is my story.

Charmaine Hunt grew up in Porirua, where she still lives and works as a mental health worker. I grew up in a family who smoked, I didn’t realise I was addicted to smoking until I was in my forties, before that I was in denial.

In December last year, after often being unwell, having difficulty breathing, struggling to get to the mailbox and a chest infection Charmaine finally quit smoking. I went to the doctor feeling unwell, the doctor talked to me about quitting smoking and prescribed Champix.

This is when my quitting journey began. My doctor also put me in contact with Tina from Takiri Mai Te Ata Regional Stop Smoking Service. Tina and I met face to face and planned out my journey to quitting. Once my 14 days was up I woke up that morning and said to myself – today I am a non smoker, today my new journey begins.

Tina and I talked through the different stages of quitting and we talked about tools to help me manage the different feelings I will experience while I quit smoking.

“Once we talk about what happens when you quit, people understand that they are not the only ones going through this. You are not alone, I am here to help you”.

“When a person comes to terms with quitting smoking and their mind set is focused on quitting forever, the journey becomes easier,” explains Tina from Takiri Mai Te Ata Regional Stop Smoking Service.

I have stopped smoking forever, I am never going back. A few times I have wanted to go back to smoking and I thought – no I am not doing it to myself. Now that I am a non-smoker I don’t tell people that they should quit. They will quit smoking when they are ready and I hope that they will get help, like Tina helped me.

I have a new lease on life, I enjoy lots of different foods, things taste better and I am enjoying eating a variety of food and experimenting with my cooking. I am happy and healthy. And my father says, “See I knew you could do it”.

If you would like to begin your journey to quit smoking Takiri Mai Te Ata Regional Stop Smoking Service can help you, just like they have helped Charmaine.

Charmaine Hunt and Tina Wallace

Phone 0508 KOKIRI - [email protected]

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