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Better habits for health, family and budget

Better habits for health, family and budget

Last Updated: May 2019

Three Tui Ora staff members, who work with youth, walk the talk when it comes to the smokefree message.

Jacki McMillan, Krystal Smillie,and Anne Russell (pictured above) work for the organisation’s Youth Service and have ditched their smoking habits in the past year.

Looking after health, families and their wallets were motivators.

Krystal says her school-age son didn’t like his mother’s habit, few of her friends now smoke and a move into a new rental property meant she needed to rejuggle her budget.

An app on her phone ‘Get Rich or Die Smoking’ inspires her as it provides daily updates of things like the money she’s saved and how many cigarettes she hasn’t smoked.

“When I feel I need a smoke I look at that, and it reminds me of how much I’ve achieved.”

The use of a vape or e-cigarette was also key in managing the nicotine cravings as well as ensuring she had something to do in social situations when she usually smoked.

“I strongly believe that if I didn’t have it there would be no way I would have given up.”

As well as vaping, she used nicotine patches and chewed gum, and highly rated the support of Taranaki Stop Smoking practitioner George Rapana, who is both knowledgeable and encouraging. “He’s not in your face. There’s no pressure, he doesn’t tell me what I must do.” 

Last year Jacki McMillan was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, meaning part of her heart beats irregularly and too fast. That issue combined with her partner’s health scare, and the desire to ensure she’s around for her grandchildren, inspired her to give up.

In the past, Jackie has quit, sometimes for years at a time. But one smoke can undo all that work. These days, she finds it more useful to say, ‘I have chosen to give up smoking’ which turns around the ‘you must stop smoking’ talk in her head.  It's a more positive mantra.

Anne Russell, also a Youth Service kaimahi, had also tried to give up in the past but the need to get back into gym routines helped motivate he this time. 

“I still have a packet of cigarettes sitting on top of my fridge. I see it every day…but I’m not tempted. I have the power over them.”

Feeling fitter is something she now relishes. “I feel more pain within my muscles or legs rather than my lungs. That’s a good feeling.”

World Smokefree Day is on May 31.  Contact the Taranaki Stop Smoking Service here.

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