Partners on a journey to a smoke-free life

smokefree janice brian

Latest news 11 January 2019 | The Counties Manukau Health Living Smokefree Service team is celebrating a 46% increase in referrals in December 2018 compared to December 2017.

“People tell us that they want to quit for their whaanau, good health and also to save money”, says Living Smokefree Services Portfolio Manager Basil Fernandes. “It can be a difficult journey but with the right support system in place, everyone can live a smoke-free life.” After the recent 10% hike in cigarette prices – with a 25-pack of cigarettes costing up to $40 - saving money is becoming an even higher priority.

Manukau resident and cancer survivor Janice Mitchell was referred to the Counties Manukau Living Smokefree Service in the autumn of 2016 after she realised how much her health and her pockets were being affected by continuing to smoke cigarettes. Brian King smoked too, so Janice encouraged him to give quitting smoking a go. Between them, they smoked over 30 cigarettes a day.

“They were keen to quit together and motivated each other. They had taken a positive step by making their home smoke-free. But they were still not confident that they would be able to stop smoking completely,” says Smokefree specialist Delwyn Tumahai.

Janice and Brian looked forward to the regular home visits by the Smokefree practitioners and even offered them homemade fruit smoothies. By winter, they were able to cut down significantly and went a few days at a time being smoke-free.

“Our friends and family continued to offer us cigarettes and we found it difficult to cope with cravings. A single puff would lead us right back to smoking. At that point, we were just not ready to be completely smoke-free,” says Janice. “But we knew the support of the Smokefree team would always be there should we wish to return to the service.”

In the spring of 2017, they attended a local drop-in clinic, however relapsed once more.

That winter, Janice and Brian finally decided to give it their all and together set their quit date for Janice’s birthday. They came back to the drop-in clinic and since Janice met the eligibility criteria, the doctor prescribed her Champix. Brian saw how well the medication worked for Janice and decided to try it too.

“We have been smoke-free ever since. We still attend the drop-in clinic for support, and also to encourage and motivate others trying to be smoke-free. I can’t imagine smoking again. We passed someone smoking in the street on the way to the drop-in clinic today; I had to hold my breath as we walked past, it makes my stomach go funny,” says Janice.

Instead of smoking, they are spending their time and money on improving their health. “We’ve had a massive overhaul on our diet; we buy organic fruits and vegetables now”, says Janice.

Janice is attending water aerobics class and Brian has purchased a bicycle and cycles all around. He is currently pursuing higher education to fulfil his dreams. “We are leading healthier, happier and more driven lives,” says Brian.

“We have been smoke-free for over 170 consecutive days now and we thank the care and support provided by Delwyn and the Counties Manukau Health Living Smokefree Service for this achievement. If our story can motivate anybody, even one person, it’s fantastic.”

To get in touch with the Living Smokefree Service and find out where your local drop-in clinic is call 0800 569 568, text “NOW” to 590, email smokefree@middlemore.co.nz or visit the Hang Tuff Smokefree 2025 Facebook page . The service also provides home and workplace visits.