Quit smoking stories
Quitting can be a difficult challenge but without a doubt the rewards of becoming smokefree are worth it. Here are some success stories from real people who have quit smoking, many of whom featured in our advertising campaigns.
You can share your own story and read many more on our Quit Blogs.
Sandy featured in our 2013 The Moment I Knew campaign, where she shared her moment she knew she had to quit smoking. Click here to view the campaign.
Josie Reiri-Rongonui and Carl Rongonui
Since quitting, Josie trained as a Quit Coach to help others stop smoking and she works for a health collective called Whaiora. ‘We’re putting our hands up to help others quit. We don’t want our mokopuna smoking – we want to stop the cycle from here now. It won’t be acceptable for any more of our whānau to start,’ says Josie.
Josie and Carl featured in our 2013 The Moment I Knew campaign, sharing their moments where they knew they had to quit smoking. Click here to view the campaign.
Luke was so motivated by his new sense of vitality that he decided to embark on a 674km cycle around the South Island. With no previous cycling experience, he hoped that his cycle will inspire others to quit smoking. Together with his friend, Luke set off from his home town of Nelson on the 6th April, he then travelled down the Lewis Pass across to the east coast and up through Blenheim back to Nelson.
You can see Luke and his son Oakley in our 2012 The New You television advertisements.
Maria has been smokefree for almost two years and she is clear that she will never go back to smoking. ‘That’s the freedom, not having to choose between food and my addiction to smokes,’ she says.
Jane had been a smoker for 15 years but earlier this year she ‘just got sick of it’. She didn’t like how much money she was spending or the feeling of being tied to needing to smoke. Plus, she wanted to be healthier.
‘I am not the type of person to ask for help and my saving grace was the blogs on the Quitline website. I can honestly say I would still be smoking if it wasn’t for the website,’ he says.
With all the stop-smoking ads going around, I really felt guilty about smoking, but not guilty enough. Two years ago I went out onto the deck armed with a cup of coffee and a cigarette. While lighting up my (now) six year-old daughter pretended to light up and smoke with me. That was when it really hit home the impact my smoking had on my kids.
I got online, ordered my lozenges and patches; two years later I'm still a non-smoker and loving it - but the road wasn't easy. I would phone my wonderful husband, scream and shout at him while I was going through withdrawals. But being the patient, loving husband that he is he'd answer my call, kindly put his mobile phone next to him so that I could rant and rave as much as I liked, and carry on with his work. When I had got quieter, he'd listen and talk to me. I knew he wasn't really listening to me rant and rave, it just gave me the chance to scream and shout and calm down.
The picture is of me doing the Methanix Family Fun Ride with my family - we did the 11km! I would never have managed that while smoking. I also walk 8kms per day."
I made the decision knowing I had to make changes to improve my life so I jumped in with both feet, no testing the water. I joined Quitline and ordered a Quit Pack then I got onto the blogs on Quitline’s website. Well from that day onwards there was no looking back, I learnt something new, something very powerful that will help most people to quit tobacco and more. There is a powerful force inside the blogs on Quitline, no one will shoot you down for struggling or slipping-up, there are no failures.
The number one reason that people fail to quit is the lack of support. Trying to quit on your own is tough. Yet, whether it be pills, patches, gum, or even hypnosis, the fact is you are on your own. None of them offer you any ‘before’ ‘during’ or ‘after’ support. This program (Quitline blogs) stands out head and shoulders above the many other quit smoking ideas and programs out there because of its emphasis on support. That’s right folks, that means YOU. This Quitline blog site is New Zealanders supporting New Zealanders, it is caring for our own country and people. What’s more, it’s free and it really does help far more than anyone would think.
Success is a matter of viewpoint. To quit smoking is like riding a bike, you get on and pedal and some people fall off. Don’t let that stop you, just get right back on and try again. Do you remember learning to ride your bike? No matter how many times you fell off your bike you still got back on didn’t you? You tried so hard and did so well that you mastered bike riding and could go anywhere. Well it’s the same for quitting smokes."
It all began when I was 16 - the attraction was the head rush that smoking gave me. My mother told me it would go away, I didn't believe her. And then next minute there was no head rush and I couldn't stop smoking.
Just before my partner’s 25th birthday, we decided we would stop. It soon came to the day of my partner’s birthday and that was our last day of smoking.
The first few days were the hardest. I felt sick, dizzy and not focused but it helped having the support of my partner and my mother.
For me I found the blogs that everyone else had sent through on this website were great and helpful. The blogs made me feel like I had someone to talk to about quitting. Blogging gave me a chance to get whatever I was feeling off my chest and I didn't use any patches or gum. My way was hard but I coped. I just got busy at work, went for walks and joined the work indoor netball team. Keeping busy is the way if you don't want to think about smoking. Also my mum had told me if I make it to my birthday, she will take me out for dinner. Who can resist food?
On my 25th birthday, it will be three months exactly. I love my family and they are my drive to keep myself from smoking. Having extra cash is always also a bonus. My advice is find your drive and stick to it, set a date and psyche yourself up until that date. Tell everyone you’re going to give up on that date.
Be strong for yourself, don’t listen to negativity."
When my mum was about 55 years old her doctor told her that her lungs were shot, her chain smoking and chronic asthma gave her little hope of any quality of life so she was told to quit smoking. We never knew how hard it was for her to quit. I just thought she had given up and that was it. In the days following her death we found a diary that she had used to record her quitting experience; it talked about how hard it had been for her. It made me cry.
You don’t often realise that your whānau need support to quit. You just think good on them and that’s it really.
When I realised how hard it had been for mum and that she still managed to quit. I knew I had to quit too. It wasn’t easy for me. I’m not one of those people that can just give up straight away.
Smoking caused me to feel guilty and I hated it and wondered why I would want to feel like that. Why would I keep on doing something that made me feel bad? So I quit smoking and know it was the right choice. Replacing my habit took some work. Walking and changing my routine helped me a lot. Thanks Mum.
In remembrance of my beautiful and brave mum Kuini Hoera (nee Manihera) 11 March 1937 – 15 September 1997."
One day I got really crook. The doctor told me I had pneumonia and asked if I smoked.. I felt so bad at the time that I told him I would give up straight away. The doctor looked at me like as soon as he turned his back I would be outside having a smoke, but I never did. I quit smoking that day and never went back.
It wasn’t easy though. I still got cravings. Every time I felt like having a smoke I would go for a run, not a long run though because I was too unfit, but I would run at least a short distance.
Seven years after quitting smoking, I feel much better. I kept up with the running and now I do a triathlon once a year. Quitting smoking was definitely the right choice."
I knew quitting was going to be horrendous because I was the sort of smoker who would start panicking if I was down to my last cigarette, even though I knew I didn’t need another smoke for an hour. However I was determined the addiction would not beat me – quitting does not work if you are half hearted.
For the first three weeks after quitting I was very angry - angry with myself and angry with the addiction. Stopping smoking also meant temporarily avoiding situations that triggered cravings, such as chatting on the phone and sitting down for a cup of coffee. I had to stay away from smokers.
Now I feel much better physically and I can feel the oxygen going into my lungs and my kids are very happy that I have quit."
When I became pregnant I stopped smoking because I knew I had to quit for the baby. That didn’t last and I started smoking soon after my son was born. I finally quit when I started working on a smokefree project. Quitting with a support person is very helpful.
For me the biggest benefit is healthy children and feeling proud about myself."
I did an equation to see what 110 days smoke free means to me:
It's cool eh. And, day by day it is a really good equation to do; I found it really helped so you may want to pass it on to others?
So thanks again – sincerely – you guys totally rock.
No reira, hei kona mai me nga mihi."
From a smoke free diabetic:
"I have type 2 diabetes.
Yes, I was a smoker until five year ago and still manage to stay away from it.
When I was told that I had type two Diabetes, I was in a shock. I was told that if I kept smoking I would have a stroke or a heart attack, and my circulation would go, and so on. I didn't want that as I'm still young.
I tried to give up smoking so many times and ways but na, no luck. The more I tried the more I got stressed. The more I got stressed the more I smoked - until one day I thought I will make a plan for myself - and yes, I was ready to give up as well.
The most important thing for me was that I didn’t tell anybody except my partner that I was quitting and so people couldn’t ask me, "Did you have one today, how many did you smoke today?" This would have got me going to have more smokes.
I continued to smoke for about two weeks but I wrote it down every time I lit up. The following week I asked myself, “How am I going to quit one cigarette a week and what time will suit me?” I figured it out and away I went.
It became a competition in my mind saying, “I'm in charge not you.” But I also had one when I really wanted one.
The other thing I noticed was I was starting to taste food and could climb up hills without huffing and puffing.
Over the second and third years a packet a day went down to a packet every two days, then three days, until I went down to half a packet a week. One day I could not stand the smelly things anymore and just gave up. I thought, "Right, if I need one I can go and buy a packet and no one can stop me because they don’t know I’ve quit." I haven’t bought a packet since then.
One thing I allowed myself is to put on weight - two stones of it. Now I've made a pact with myself to lose a stone a year as I’ve got about four stone to lose.
I also know that I would never go back to smoking again. However I must say that if I smell someone who had a smoke five or ten minutes ago it still smells lovely, although sometimes it makes me feel sick. What I have learnt is that I need to do one thing at a time and that is what works for me.
I hope you can do the same but hey, you need to pick something that’s going to work for you. Maybe my story will give you a start, and you will be so proud of yourself once you have achieved your goal."
You can share your own story and read many others on the Quit Blogs.