Life is better after going smoke-free


After smoking for more than 40 years, Central Otago District Councillor Martin McPherson has kicked the habit and is feeling “great, a lot better”.

“I’ve smoked in excess of 40-plus years, and this is not my first attempt at stopping, but I think I’ve got it this time.

“It has been very difficult in the past. I’ve fallen off the wagon, but I’m feeling really good about it at present.”

“Psychologically, I had determined that I was not going to be a cigarette smoker on my 61st birthday.”

So Mr McPherson gave up smoking on December 23, the day before his birthday, he said.

Four months on, “I’m breathing better, I’m feeling physically better, my food tastes better, I think people have commented that my skin looks better.”

His dentist said his teeth were also looking better, Mr McPherson said.

With the cost of smoking adding up to around $200 a week, “my bank balance is looking a lot better”.

Being aware of habitual routines, like sitting in a favourite chair or having a glass of wine and a smoke, was one of the changes he had made.

“It is an addiction, and you want to be conscious of the triggers.”

Nicotine replacement therapy, run by Southern Stop Smoking Service, helped wean him off cigarettes, he said.

The service provided a free mobile service – covering the Southern region stretching from Invercargill to Kurow and Omarama, across to Glenorchy and over to Dunedin and Moeraki – and was open to everyone, service manager Maria Colligan-Haggart said.

“The service offers community group clinics and one-on-one support with eight site coaches operating across the region,” she said.

“The service provides free nicotine replacement therapy resources to support you on your journey to become smoke-free. ”

Cancer Society Central Otago health promotion co-ordinator Diana Power said many New Zealanders were becoming smoke-free or not taking up smoking at all.

“The most recent tobacco-use figures show 84% of New Zealanders do not smoke, which is 4% more than in 2008.

“Importantly, fewer young people are starting to smoke, with 96% of 15 to 17 year olds staying smoke-free, which is a marked increase from 84% a decade ago,” she said.
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