The 25-year-old, who would spend $80 a week on cigarettes and smoked 15 to 20 roll-your-owns a day for four years, referred herself to Nga Kete Matauranga Pounamu Charitable Trust for help.
At the same time the latest WERO Challenge Wai-Mana-Pounamu was due to begin and she was asked to join the Pounamu team from Southland.
At the time, she was 10 weeks pregnant.
Her team, along with another Southland team Nga Hau e Whau won the challenge beating 11 other groups from across the country – all 20 participants are now smoke free.
It is the second time in a row a Southland team supported by Nga Kete has won.
For the young Invercargill woman, who also has two sons, quitting was very important to protect her unborn baby.
“I’d always wanted to try and stop but being pregnant really pushed me. I didn’t enjoy smoking at all.”
She attributes the challenge to helping her quit because there were other people counting on her.
And while the first four or five weeks were tough, she eventually quit cold-turkey.
Suddenly it became easier, the cravings were gone and she had no desire to go back.
“Once I was in the mindset of giving up, I did. I gave my cigarettes away and I’d make sure I spent all of my money every week so I had none to buy any … I didn’t even feel like smoking. The smell made me feel sick.”
Since quitting she has noticed she has more time with her children (“I didn’t realize how much time smoking took”) and her anxiety attacks, which she had about every second day, have faded.
She has now been smoke free for four months and won’t be taking the habit back up.
“It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made. I don’t miss anything about it. What a waste of money.”