Nurses' quit smoking stories

1 March 2012

Nurses' share their own stories about the battle to quit smoking

Kody’s story

I started smoking at the age of 15, and I’m now 32. The longest I have been smoke free was for two years (cold turkey) during and after my pregnancy with my third daughter. I tried giving up again just over a year ago (using Zyban) and lasted nine months. My husband gave up just prior to this and has remained smoke free. I currently smoke 30g of tobacco weekly and have my first cigarette within ten minutes of getting up in the morning. My home and car are smokefree. As a mum to three girls, I’m aware that my daughters (12, 10, and 6 years olds) look up to me, which is my primary reason for wanting to quit. I always tell myself that that should be enough. However remaining smoke free is a constant struggle. I enjoy my sport, and I have noticed more recently that my stamina is lacking and I have a slight wheeze on occasion when I inhale. My health overall is suffering. All members of my immediate family smoke or have smoked, and I don’t want that for my children or grandchildren. Being a positive role model for my daughters, being healthy, and living longer is what I want to achieve. As a community nurse, I feel I should be role-modeling good health practices, especially for the age group I work with (10–13 year olds). I am constantly aware that I am the face of “health” for clients and their families so I am often checking my surroundings before lighting up.

I’ve set a quit date of February 20. After my last attempt, I gained nearly ten kilograms, so I wanted to avoid that this time. I’ve set up a fitness programme and have been going to boxing three times a week religiously for about five weeks. I believe I’m addicted to boxing, which is fabulous. I’ve also signed up with our Aukati Kaipapa Crew, who will support me through this journey.

Kody Young, Taitamaraiki RN

Mike’s story

Mike started smoking as a 16-year-old as a teenage act of rebellion. When he started his psychiatric nurse training more than 20 years ago, smoking was the norm. “I was told at the start to always make sure I had a lighter with me. I get more response from clients by not smoking.”

He’s been attempting to quit smoking on and off for three years; he last lapsed in November after quitting for four months. Now he’s reached 50, he wants to make a real effort. Over his quitting attempts, he’s learnt how to use patches, what his triggers are, and the need for rewards for reinforcements. He also no longer smokes at work, “which is good”. He is also down to about 20 cigarettes every five days.

His aim was to give up in the New Year while on holiday with the support of NRT, Quitline, friends and family.

He started quitting on Jan 2 with patches, although he lapsed twice when out with friends and this quit attempt came to a halt when he went away camping for the weekend without his patches. He ended up buying a packet of tobacco and has continued to smoke since then.

“At the moment, I’m somewhat disappointed, and will try again but I have no set date yet.”

Mike Connolly Mental health clinical nurse specialist