Fred wanted to be able to play games with his daughter

By the age of 12, Fred was smoking 20 cigarettes a day, but he decided to quit cold turkey because he wanted to live a healthier life and to be able to play games with his daughter.

Susan (Quitline): Hi, Fred.

Fred: Yes. Hi.

S: So you are a reformed smoker?

F: Yeah. I started smoking when I was seven or eight years old. By the age of 12 I was on 20 a day. At 16 I started work. I was an apprentice carpenter. And I had an income. So at that stage it was just go, go, go.

[What was your reason to quit?]

F: I assessed my life at some stage, 17 years ago, I thought, uh, I needed to do something to prepare for oncoming old age and all those sorts of things. And I thought, what was the one single thing I could do that would have the most effect? And, uh, when I thought about it, it was no other answer than smoking. It was just the most sensible thing to do at the time.

S: So how did you quit smoking?

F: Uh, what I used to do is, uh, go to work. um, I wouldn't smoke at work. But if we went away on a sales trip or something, I'd smoke and, uh, I'd come back and give it up the day I came back and, uh, then take it up again on the next sales trip or the next junket. It showed me that, you know, I could do it. I, I could do it for a day. I could do it for a week.I could do it for as long as I want. So, that's where I got the idea that I was gonna go ‘cold turkey’.

S: It's a lot about a mindset. Isn't it?

F: It is. Yeah. You gotta want to do it.

S: Exactly. Yeah. And what was that process like? I mean, how, how hard was it?

F: It, it wasn't easy , you know. It took great, um, it was willpower, but it I had to have an idea in the head of why I was going to do it.

And, uh, there were times when, uh, you know, you almost crack. I got a fair bit of support from the family.

S: And what difference did it sort of make to your life? What's different now than you than it was when you were a smoker?

F: I was able to go out and play games with my daughter. I started to taste food, and uh, sense and smell things that I hadn't smelled in years and, uh, swim and run and jog. And it doesn't take long for you to get the, the actual, uh, fog out of your, out of your lungs and start to breathe fresh air.

And my daughter's reaction to me, not smoking was so much different. She'd come and give me a cuddle. She was very, uh, you know, uh, sort of reserved before that. I don't think she liked the smell of cigarettes. When that became an apparent thing that was going on, that was just a great advantage. Yeah. Especially so for us, because we adopted our little girl and we spent seven years waiting for her and yeah, why waste all that?

[Any advice?]

F: I can say to someone who's thinking about giving up smoking, if you give it up, it will change your life. Yeah. It will change your life quite considerably. It's a difficult thing to do. You've gotta actually prepare yourself mentally to do it. And, and if you need nicorettesand drug replacement stuff, those sort of things to do it. If you want to chew, um, chewing gum or, you know, some people eat lollies and so forth, then do it.

You know, if you're gonna put on 20 kilos or 30 kilos lose it later.

S: The single most important thing for you was being able to sort of look back on a pattern over the years and think ‘I've done it for a day.I've done it for a week. I've done it for a month. Yep. I can do it forever.’

F: Yeah. I just decided I was a non-smoker. That was it. Yeah.

Frances' young son asked her to quit when a family member died

After the death of a family member at a young age, Frances’ 15-year-old son started asking her to stop smoking so they could stay together as a family for longer – so she signed up for a workplace quit smoking program.

Joelle (Quitline): So Frances, when did you start smoking and why?

Frances: Um, peer pressure. I was the 13, 14. Jjust trying something new and naughty habit. Yeah. Or I didn't like it. Actually. Yeah, because it made me cough made me dizzy. But everyone was doing it and I thought, oh, you know, she might not like me if I don't try.So peer pressure.

J: And how long did you smoke for?

F: Full on buying my own cigarettes was about 15 till I got pregnant with my son at 23. Stopped smoking when I was pregnant with my son, all of my pregnancy, and then two years after it.

J:Okay. So almost three years, roughly?

F: Yeah. And then picked up the habit again.So it's been on and off, on and off.

J: So when did you first start thinking about quitting and why?

F: Oh, I had reasons like, um, my, my son he's 15 and he's all about, um, ‘what if my mom...’, ‘if anything happens to my mum, and I'm still young’, you know?

J:So he actually said that to you?

F: Yeah. We lost my dad at a young age last year. So my son was really, really lost ‘cause he is an only grandchild. So he was like my push at home. Because my husband smoked, so he was like, well, whatever, you know, if you wanna, if you wanna quit, if you wanna keep smoking, I'll support you. But then when we were sitting there, he was hearing my son say, oh, you know, ‘You should both stop smoking’.

You know, it'd be good for, you know, for us to stay together longer. And he kept referring back to my dad, you know, look how old my Papa was and he's already gone. Yeah. And I'm only young. And so that was a, a big push from home.

J: That must have been a big reflection?

F:Oh, it was.

J: So how did things change for you? What happened?

F: Well, I got the promotion into quality, quality assurance, and I just randomly had a conversation with my boss. She goes, oh, how's the, you know, cause I've gotta taste everything. How the how’s tasting the product. Oh yeah. It's good. Do you smoke? Yeah, I smoke like a train. Oh, there's gonna be like a stop smoking program. We should all give it a try. Yeah.

J: So can you describe how the workplace quit smoking program worked for you? What happened there? How did you get involved in that?

F: So we had, um, um, memos out to everybody. We have flyers on our noticeboards. It was so easy to register. A 12 week course, you get four phone

calls and, um, when they ring you, you, if you need it like the products, they'll just ask you what products you wanted and they'll send it to.

We were told that we'd get a phone call from the quit smoking program and then it just happened. Yeah. So like get in touch with the people. And I thought, oh, here we go. I'm gonna ring up and, you know, have a big conversation about smoking. I actually was quite negative about it. I thought, oh, they're gonna start judging me.

And, but then when I rang up, she was so beautiful. She was like, you can do it. And I'm thinking in my head, well, if you've got faith in me, how come I don't have any faith in myself? And to hear all that from a stranger. Well, I couldn't believe that someone could actually say that to you. You know, ‘I believe that you can do it’.

And that's how my journey started. She asked me like how many I smoked? And I told her like, well, I was going through a 50 pack a day. And she was like, she was shocked. She was like, wow. So she sent me out the gum, um, the patches and the mints. Yeah. So I tried all three products, but for me, I like the, um, the patches worked really well.

I didn't even notice that the first night I came to work cause I'm on night shift. Didn't even realize I didn't even want or had a smoke. Yeah. Cause I couldn't roll my smokes. My husband used to roll me. Mm, and put them in a Mint tin and that's what was in my bag. I kept that for a month.

Just as a visual to say that I still haven't had a smoke. Yeah. And he, at first he didn't believe me, but because he knows I can't roll and I didn't have a rollie machine. I just showed him the tin. But he actually didn't, he didn't believe. So he was shocked and he said, oh, I'm proud of you. I can't believe it.

Like, he was still in shock. He actually gave up a month after I did. And we still haven't had a smoke.

J: So you inspired him?

F: Yeah. Yeah.

J:So what have you noticed in terms since you have quit now, it's been seven months. You're saying? Yeah. Has anything changed for you?

F: Um, well, my hair doesn't stink. My clothes don't stink. Um, I feel healthier. On the weekends, me and some of friends from work, we go mountain climbing, climbed up all the mountains in the Glasshouse Mountains, like Mount Beerwah, where I think it is. Yeah. Yeah.

J: Is that something you would've done, you know, prior to quitting.

F: No, no way I would. Would've never picked it.

J: And, and what about in terms of taste and smell and things like that?

F: Uh, because of my job and what I do, the food tastes so good. I mean, before I used to say, oh, everything just taste bland, like a mushroom taste like a mushroom. Or capsicum taste like— but now you can act-, well, I can actually taste the food. So that's made a huge difference. And like now it's all saving.

J: So now it's saving and saving for things that you want in life?

F: Yeah. Well, we've just built our house, so I've decided I want a pool and I need $27,000. Okay. Yeah.

J: And, and that's that money that you would've spent on smokes? That's going into that, is it each week?

F: Yeah. Okay.

J: So where have you got to so far?

F: Um, up to 15,000.

J: That's incredible. It's seven months. That is incredible.

F: That's two. Yeah. Yeah, because my husband, yeah. My husband started a month after me.

J: So, so you’ll soon have your pool?

F: Yep. I will. I will have my pool.

Joshua loved his children more than his cigarettes

Joshua had smoked for 28 years and had tried to quit many times before. He felt like he wasn’t doing all he could do to love his children and his family because he was still smoking. This is what motivated him to finally quit forever.

Angela (Quitline): So Josh, tell me when you first started smoking, do you remember and why did you, why did you start?

Joshua: Uh, it would've been when I was in early high school, I started smoking down the Creek in the stillwater drain with some friends. Uh, thought it was, was cool, tough, grown up thing to do. Mm-hmm so gave you the excuse to duck away. ‘Oh, I need to go out and have a cigarette.’

A: Sure. Yeah. So, um, tell me about when you tried to quit.

J: Well, I reckon I tried at least a dozen. Mm.

A: So at least 12 times. And were they all serious attempts or maybe half attempts and serious attempts in there or...?

J: I mean, I'll say that the first six or seven, they. I wanted to, but I didn't, but I didn't want to.

So there was that. Yeah, it's a good idea.

A: The inner conflict!

J: And I know it's right, but, gee I like smoking and when, and then that was when I didn't like smoking anymore. That was gonna change.

A: So you talk before about mindset and how your mindset had changed and you think that was key in you quitting this time. How, how did you get to that mindset change?

J: It was slow. It was slowly.

A: Yeah. It's a process

J: And quitting and quitting. And then, um, all those little failures, um, you learnt something. Yes. And you learn this little bit and you learnt that little bit. Also you got more and more tired of quitting and not succeeding. So it was those little bits. Um, the other, not so little bits.

Um, My family as they're growing and you know that like, you're gonna have to run around after ‘em, you wanna play with ’em and do this. And you, you can't run because you're puffed because you are smoking or that that's, you're very aware of that. So as I've said before, that self consciousness that I don't really not doing all I can to love my, my children and my family, because I'm still smoking.

A; You know, we speak to a lot of people and look, some people aren't able to quit, uh, even if they have lung cancer. So what advice would you give to someone really struggling?

J: I didn't think I could quit, um. Quitline—they really, really help. Give them a call, talk to them. Uh, I'll advise anyone that wants to try. Um, they'll help you. They'll give you advice. Um, and keep trying. You might not quit the first time. You might not quit the second time, the third time, the fourth time, the fifth time. But if you keep trying. You, you will quit. Mm, definitely. Some people might be really lucky and quit the first time. It's one of those things, if you really want to quit you’ll keep at it.

Mm. Okay. Don't worry about failing. That's all good.

A: And what was helpful about Quitline?

J: Lots of things. So when I was stressed or at first, when I was stressed or anxious, I could give them a call. Uh, and they would help me through that

particular, uh, moment. They would talk to me and they shared my, my quit journey with me so I had someone to talk to about it and share about what I was feeling, how I was going. There were people that, um, celebrated the ‘Yay! I've been quit for three days’ or ‘Yes. Brilliant’. And that's a good thing. Yeah. And then it was a week and then it was, uh, two weeks. And so every, and you knew they'd give a call and I organised at times that they'd call back at this time. so if I had slipped up, they could give me a call and go, come on, Josh. Well, not come on, but they were there and I could talk to about it. Okay. And so that was my safety mechanism was I, I used Quitline and, um, to help me, and they were more than willing to give me calls and help me through that period.

It was great. They advised me about the different products, how to use 'em, what would work best and whether I was allowed to use this much or that much, or this and that was really good.

A: Okay.

J: So it was that knowledge. It doesn't matter if you, if you do have a cigarette, it's not like ‘you naughty child’, it's okay. So you've had one that's alright. Uh, and let's move on. So that was good. I really, I, I like that. You don't, it doesn't matter if you have a cigarette it's what can we- let's move forward? Let's move forward. Always positive, positive, rather than, so that was really cool.

A: So, um, what does your life look like now that you're not a smoker?

J: When I hug my kids and kiss my kids. There's no cringe when I kiss them or hug them because I feel like I dirty ashtray. Uh, when I go bushwalking out into the middle of nice, uh, untouched rainforest. You can go out and you can smell the, take a deep breath in, the air’s nice and clean—it isn't polluted with cigarette smoke and that that's awesome ‘cause that always used to bug me. So that's good.

Um, my fingers are clean.

A: Okay.

J: They're not cigarette-stained. Yeah, sit there. And that's, it's a small little one, but it's a very personal one that you notice.

I can go and buy a cup of coffee and I don't have to worry about, ‘can I afford the coffee or can I afford cigarettes?’ Which one?

A: Wow. Yeah.

J: So it, it is the, and it's a lot of those little things. It's the little things which make up the big picture.

A: How many months ago did you successfully quit smoking?

J: Nine months ago.

A: Nine months ago. So you almost at a year?

J: Yes.

A: That's pretty good. How long did you smoke for?

J: About 30 years.

A: 30 years. So you've broken-

J: 28 years.

A:28 years. So you've broken a 28-year habit successfully. Yes, that is fantastic. You must feel amazing.

J: Yep. That's great. It's yeah. I mean, yeah, you just....

Last updated: April 2023