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The Joy of quitting
Today is Joy Rimmer's 1stAnniversary, and it's a day worthy of celebrating. For Joy the 22ndFebruary marks one year as a non-smoker. For the 56-year old care worker at Tainui rest home in New Plymouth it's a significant date.
"I started smoking when I was 15 – it's just what you did, and what my friends did. When I quit smoking I had been doing it for 40 years, says Joy.
Joy's reasons for quitting were numerous:
"I did it for my health, for my kids and grandkids – because I want to be around for them, and because of the cost, but mostly I did it for me."
Joy describes a period in her life when she went on a "voyage of discovery" where she made several positive changes – shedding 30 kgs, ending an unhealthy relationship and quitting smoking.
A referral from her GP introduced Joy to the Taranaki Stop Smoking Service (TSSS), where she met quit coach Emma Dillon.
"Emma gave me the tools I needed to help quit, but I was in charge of the process and that was important to me. I set my quit date and when that date came around I didn't smoke again, and I still haven't."
Joy used nicotine replacement patches and lozenges for the first four weeks of the six-week programme but found after that she didn't need them. She would meet with Emma weekly, then fortnightly until she no longer needed support.
Since becoming smoke free Joy says she no longer feels any desire to light up, whether she is with other smokers, or stressed out, the desire is gone. She's also noticed several other benefits:
"My sense of taste returned. I had no idea that food could taste that good. I was really conscious that I didn't want to undo the weight loss so I got smaller dinner plates, adjusted my portion sizes."
Joy also decided to get fit, going to the gym and swimming three times a week.
"I love the pool, and can now swim 25 lengths in one session. That just wouldn't have been possible before. I would have been out of breath, exhausted."
Quit Coach Emma Dillon said:
"Joy lived up to her name and was a real pleasure to work with. She arrived at the first meeting already determined to quit and from that point she was unstoppable.
"I'm really proud that she managed to stop smoking. It's really not easy when you've had the habit for such a long time and smoked heavily but she did it."
Joy's achievement has inspired others to do the same, a co-worker at Tainui joined the TSSS programme and also managed to quit.
"I feel much healthier in myself. My son is really proud of me, so is my Mum. I can keep up with my grandkids (Joy has 10 mokopuna – aged between 1-21), and I'm better off financially.
"I always said that I would quit when cigarettes were five dollars a packet. When I quit a pack of 30s cost me $33.50, and that would last me two days."
"I won't go back to smoking now, no question. Why would I? And lose everything I've gained? Forget about it." Joy says with a smile and heads off for work.