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Sally’s story*

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I was 12 when I started smoking – that was about 34 years ago. Around 7 years ago I gave up for about 5 years, but I gradually started smoking again.

I used to smoke about 25 cigarettes a day – the strong ones too! Back when I started smoking you could only get 16mg cigarettes, and we thought you got more value from the strong ones anyway, so we stuck with those.

I knew I had to stop sometime – with the changes at work I didn’t want to be trying to cut back with everyone else. I started cutting back about 6 weeks before the new policy came in. It was pretty easy to cut down – it was a hassle to get changed every time I wanted a cigarette, so I gradually smoked less and less at work.

I started the Quit Tasmania Fresh Start program held at work on October 28th. I just came along to the course to see what they had to say, although I really had no intention of giving up. After all, Cadbury was offering to help for free, so why not try and do it now? I was really just coming along to gather information for ‘later on’, when I was ready to quit. I even thought I’d collect the free patches and use them later!

But something changed during the course; I just realised I could do it. I didn’t read much of the workbook, and didn’t do any of the exercises. They made me too stressed.

On Nov 10th I had my last cigarette. I smoked a few in the morning, jumped in the shower, put on a patch and went to work. I didn’t really plan that this would be the day, although I was fairly strategic about the week. I was on day shift so I knew I would have more support from my partner that week. For me it was too stressful to plan in advance.

It wasn’t easy – my stubborn nature is the thing that has got me though. I know I am the only one I would let down, the only one who would get upset.

When I feel like a cigarette now, I just try to distract myself, move around, do something else. I tell myself I don’t need it. I never used to be able to smell them either, but I can now, so that makes me realise how awful they smell.

I used the patches for about 2½ weeks. I found sleep a bit tricky though, I think using the patches at night made me a bit wired. Since I gave up I have changed everything around so that there is no longer room for the ashtray next to my bed. It used to be strange that there was a blank spot where it always sat.

I am still confident and stubborn about my future without cigarettes. I hate being upset with myself, I can’t let myself down.

I am really grateful to Cadbury for providing the support to quit smoking – I don’t think I could have done it without them. Quit Tasmania were also fabulous – Craig our instructor was very inspirational and I am very thankful for his help.

I am buying a new PC with the money I am saving from not smoking. I think it’s really important to have new goals.

*Results may vary from person to person.