My name is Natasha, I’m from Invercargill and I started smoking when I was 14.
I couldn’t stand the smell and had always said I’d never smoke, but my brothers would give them to me and back then, it was pretty cheap.
I started smoking about a 10-pack of tailor-mades a week, but it quickly progressed to 20, and then roll-your-owns because it was cheaper (which meant I smoked more!) and by the age of 15 I was completely addicted.
I smoked for a number of years although I never actually enjoyed it. With all three of my pregnancies I tried my best to stop but I was never successful, only managing to cut down to three or so a day – for me, that was really good!
Each time I tried to stop I struggled to do it alone. My ex-husband and I lived in the country and I felt I had no one to talk to considering he was still smoking.
The cost of smoking continued to increase (we were spending about $30 a week) and with a young family I decided enough was enough. One day I found a brochure somewhere for Nga Kete, who were offering stop smoking services so I took the plunge and gave them a call.
That was 15 years ago, and I’ve never looked back.
I was put in touch with Teina Wilmshurst, who is still part of the stop smoking service at Nga Kete today! Teina would visit me at home and supply me with nicotine replacement therapy. I was allergic to the patches and didn’t like the lozenges so I used the gum, which worked for me.
I had finally stopped smoking and I was so excited!
It was really important for me to have that support from Teina. If it hadn’t been for Nga Kete I never would have stopped. I’m sure I would have caved in. Having someone to talk to was so important.
Since then, I’ve had the odd smoke socially but I don’t enjoy it, and to be honest I wouldn’t be able to smoke now with the price of it anyway!
The money I saved from stopping went towards my groceries and children, and I just loved that I could run around with them and not huff and puff.
Now, my son and daughter-in-law, who are both 18, have recently enrolled with the Stop Smoking Service and they’re both doing really well. My father is also enrolled and is 13 weeks smoke free!