Southern Stop Smoking Service: Trevor Leigh

Your stories
Your Stories
March 17, 2023

I’ve been smoking heavily for 45 years desperately wanting to give up but not knowing how. But recently with the support of the Southern Stop Smoking Service, a change in routines, and a personal challenge set, I am now three weeks smoke free.

I started smoking at the age of 12 and the habit increasingly got worse as I got older. Eventually I was smoking around 30-40 cigarettes a day and spending over $1000 a month on three 50g a week.

I always had a cigarette in my mouth. If I was getting the cows in, which takes an hour, I’d have 5 cigarettes in a row. I wasn’t eating much and when I did, it was unhealthy food because nothing ever tasted right.

Smoking was my entire lifestyle and the smokes became my friend. That friend was with me when I was at work, when I was at home, when I was enjoying a hobby. It didn’t matter what I was doing, my friend was always there.

I knew I shouldn’t have been smoking. I have a bad heart as well as asthma, but I just couldn’t seem to kick the habit. Over the years I tried to stop about three times but nothing worked even though I didn’t enjoy the habit.

One day recently, I received a phone call from my GP asking if I wanted to stop smoking and I said yes but I needed help. They put me in touch with the Southern Stop Smoking Service and the coach come to visit me. It was so important for me to have someone come and see me and check in on how I was doing.

I started using a vape and lozenges, and I set myself a challenge that I would stop. I would get angry with myself if I slipped up, but the coach kept me on track and I knew if things got bad, I could ring her and there was never any judgement. She was always there for me. I think if she hadn’t been I probably would have been smoking again within a few days.

The coach was there for me. I could trust her and she helped me to change my routines and set me on the right path. One of the biggest things that helped was leaving my smokes in the car at night time. I didn’t want to have to walk to my car to get them, so I didn’t and once I’d run out completely I just never brought anymore.

My whole world has changed since I stopped smoking. I can go for walks and not get short of breath or tired, I can taste food properly, I don’t have to put flavour in my water anymore, and I haven’t had to use my main Asthma inhaler for two months (since I cut down).

I’m looking forward to going on my first ever holiday – I’ve never been able to afford it – to Stewart Island and I’m excited that I am now able to save money.

The challenge is still in place and I am determined not to be beaten. I feel so good now that my friend is gone. I don’t miss it and I’ll never go back.

May 15, 2024

Crisis Respite Service: Exactly What I Needed

Read more
April 23, 2024

Teoti Jardine

Read more
April 23, 2024

Kanui Poharama

Read more
April 23, 2024

Mahana Southern Māori Mental Health and Addiction Service: I Am Important

Read more
April 23, 2024

Tōku Oranga: My Confidence Is Back

Read more