My name is Paula Dudley, I live at Fruitlands (Central Otago), and I am two years smoke free.
I started smoking when I was 15. Everyone smoked then and it was just the normal thing to do.
I’ve tried and tried to stop over the years. I actually have stopped a few times and I’d get as far as two or three months, but it would never last. Last time I stopped was just before I moved to New Zealand from England, but the stress of the flight and moving took me straight back to smoking!
Once I arrived I felt very alone. My husband was away working a lot, I didn’t know anyone, I couldn’t drive and I was often bored. Smoking was like my only companion and I would smoke about 20 a day.
A few years ago I thought I had the flu. But after it went on for three or four months I went to the doctor and I was diagnosed with COPD. I was told I needed to stop smoking because it would only make it worse. On top of this, I had lost all of my top teeth after developing a gum disease which I believe was due to smoking.
The doctor gave me the contact details for the Southern Stop Smoking Service and a short while later I got in touch.
That was two years ago and I am still smoke free. The coach helped out so much. We talked a lot and she would always make sure I had enough Nicotine Replacement Therapy. She was very supportive, which is something I hadn’t experienced in the past when trying to stop.
I don’t miss smoking at all. The tightness in my chest is gone and I have so much more energy!
The money I was spending on cigarettes now pays for the courier to deliver English lollies from Christchurch! I may be eating lots of sugar but I feel the best I’ve ever felt before!