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Savings make smokefree struggle worth it
They will tell you it’s still a battle. One year, three months and eight days as non-smokers – but sometimes the cravings swoop in, albeit briefly.
Says Vanessa Beattie: “Even today it’s still a struggle not to go and buy a packet, or say to one of my workmates can I have a puff?”
But so much is at stake and while it might be a zig zag of a journey with two steps forward and one step back, Vanessa and partner Gerald Viney (Geep) are proudly smokefree and keen to share their story.
Since quitting in January 2018 with the help of the Taranaki Stop Smoking Service, the couple has saved enough to buy household items as well as have disposable income for a few treats.
Their bank account which they have dubbed ‘Mr Savings Account’ steadily grows.
“Mr Savings Account has paid for a 32 inch TV, we bought a new barbeque for Christmas and we have a second-hand fridge freezer and we’ve kept up payments on a small car.
“We had money for niceties at Christmas…and we have been able to save,” says Geep.
When they smoked, they spent around $25 a day on cigarettes, adding up to more than $300 a week. The yearly price rises were the final straw. Their habit was making them feel poorer and more isolated, as well as unhealthy.
These days they are disciplined, opting to forgo a card in favour of having to make physical withdrawals from a bank rather than a cashflow machine.
They know this is the way to go because when they smoked, they headed to a supermarket or a garage minutes after money was in the bank.
Socially and physically they feel far better. Vanessa (51) walks regularly with a friend who has a dog and is more positive about her long-term health after suffering two minor strokes.
Geep (71) has joined a local social club for over-sixties and joins the groups day trips away.
“I wouldn’t have done that before because I would have needed to go outside and have a smoke, and I would have felt an outcast."
Vanessa tried in November 2015 to ditch cigarettes but says as Geep was still smoking it was too hard. Last year with renewed resolve, she encouraged her partner to enrol with George Rapana of the Taranaki Stop Smoking Service.
“I said we have to go and see him [George] because enough is enough.”
Both used nicotine replacement therapy including patches and lozenges, although Geep found it better to go cold turkey. Incentives along the way such as winning grocery vouchers in TSSS draws also encouraged them to stick with it.
Doing it together was also vital, along with the support of their son, and George who coached them all the way.
Says Vanessa: “I wake up every day and think, yes, it’s another good day.”
Agrees Geep: “Hundred per cent, I’m not wheezing or coughing…. I’m a much better person by far.”