News and Notices

Quitting smoking for family’s sake

Gayle Lawrie is a personal assistant and administrator with the Nelson Marlborough Public Health Service team.

She’s also a bit of a legend; Gayle recently quit smoking with the support of quit coach Sarah McKenzie, through the Stop Smoking service.

Here is her story, and if you are inspired by Gayle to quit smoking, find out how to get started today.

1.    What does quitting mean to you?
Smoking was a horrible addiction that I have struggled to stop for many, many years. I am so happy and proud of myself for stopping, for not only myself but also my young daughter, partner and very impressionable teenage stepdaughter.

2.    Is this the first time you’ve quit or tried to quit?
I have tried to quit more times than I could count, but was never the right time and I don’t feel that I had the right support or motivation.

3.    What were the toughest parts of your quit journey?
I thought the tough bits were the first few days to a week, mainly due to feeling a bit lost as I was so used to having to go to places to hide out and smoke every few hours.  I also always had to make sure I had cigarettes and money to buy them if I was low.  It was very strange not to have to go out in the rain or the cold anymore.

4.    What got you through these tough bits?
Thinking of my daughter, my colleagues (as working at the DHB I felt even more yukky being a stinky smoker!).  To be honest, I was a little embarrassed that I was addicted to cigarettes, and working for the DHB and being around all the positive healthy messages made me even more aware.  I was determined not to be that person anymore and to regain the control myself.  I also wanted to make sure when I had the CO2 test with my quit coach Sarah I was hitting the top mark I could get!

5.    What do your family, tamariki, friends think?
Everyone was very supportive, although my partner did stop and start a few times since my  stopping which was a bit of a disappointment, but it only made me more determined and he has now been smokefree for about 5 months.

6.    What was your strongest motivator to quit?
My daughter, my breathlessness, and the fact that smoking is so smelly and antisocial now.

7.    When did you start smoking and why?
When I was 16 after school, because the cool kids did and my mum also did…

8.    Have you noticed any other changes in your life since you’ve stopped smoking?
I can breathe better, I can taste better, I don’t smell horrible, I have money in my purse and I don’t need to spend it.

gayle olivia madi3

Gayle and her daughters Olivia and Madi

9.    Has quitting inspired you to do any other things differently?
Not really…just look after myself and that one puff is too many. That I never can touch another cigarette again.

10.    What is your advice to people who want to quit smoking but think it might be too hard?
It’s a bit ‘mind over matter’. If you are in the frame of mind to stop and you have the right support, once you kick the habit of smoking or even if you vape for a bit as a crutch, you might need to  spend more time away from your smoking friends, but trust me it’s worth it!
Now I can have coffee with my smoker friends and I actually feel relieved it’s something I no longer choose to do. I am free of the smoking chains! Yay! Happy days!