The group of eight come together through a weekly support network set up by the Southern Stop Smoking Service and aided by Sanford Limited, which have provided the time, place and support for their staff.
Sanford Limited Bluff Site Manager Warren Crighton said Sanford were striving to become the employer of choice and wished to look after their staff, and ensure they maintain a healthy lifestyle.
“I see the damage that smoking does especially in later life when it is too late to reverse. Having independent expert people helping advise our people gives another view and help from wider experience and I think our people listen to that. This is evidence by several of our people who have already given up and the numbers of people who are interested.”
Having the service on site was a staff initiative, he said.
“The team came up with the initiative and I fully endorsed for it to go ahead. Our work force team have to take the credit for driving this.”
Speaking to five of the group in its tenth week, each agreed they would not have stopped smoking if it hadn’t been for the group, and were motivated to join when the sign went up at their workplace.
The group had been supportive and talked to each other daily and on weekends. There was no judgement, just encouragement, they said.
The group felt supported by the Southern Stop Smoking Service and said they’d each used different stop smoking aides, which included patches, gym, Zyban and Champix.
Most of those in the group had smoked for more than 40 years, and some had attempted to stop in the past. But it’s different now because it’s too expensive, they said.
The group dynamic will continue with most of the group planning to visit the gym next week.
One of the group’s members, Robyn, 67, said she started smoking when she was about 13 when cigarettes were advertised everywhere, everyone smoked, and they cost about 2 shillings for a 10-pack. But now, she is unable to retire and continue smoking due to the price.
I’ve smoked for the past 53 years without trying to stop once. I had never wanted to, I enjoyed the habit and smoked about 20 tailor-made cigarettes a day.
I was spending about $200 per week and $10,000 per year.
But I knew I needed to stop for my health. I wanted to retire but I wouldn’t have been able to afford to if I’d kept smoking. I’ve been wanting to stop all year but I didn’t have the guts.
When the list went up on the board at work to come to this group I thought about it on-and-off for about three weeks before adding my name.
I went to the doctor and got Zyban but I stopped taking it after nearly two weeks. After that, I picked my stop smoking date and that was it. I don’t even crave it or miss it anymore.
My breathing is better, food tastes better, everything is better now. The group has been great and I find it really helpful listening to everyone else’s stories.
I have been smoke free now for about seven weeks and I am going to retire next Christmas!