Changing Minds Smokefree
Changing Minds has courageously undertaken the challenge of becoming 100% smoke-free. This has been a partnership with Counties Manukau Health and Auckland Regional Public Health Services “Smokefree Together 2025 Team”. All of the staff and one board member have, with support, given up smoking through the months of April and/or May 2015.
James King (Board Member, Changing Minds)
After nearly thirty years of smoking I decided to stop two months ago and (touch wood) I’ll never start again.
I took my first puff on a cigarette when I was about 7 years old and enjoyed it from the very first. I felt calm and grown up, different and sophisticated, puffing away to my hearts’ content. I was regularly stealing my father’s cigarettes from around the age of 8, but I didn’t start heavily smoking until my late teens. I used to buy packets of 10s for about $2.75 from the dairies in Hamilton on my way to school. I only ever smoked when I was out walking to school or rugby practice, sneaking off to the pub or wagging.
By the time I was working fulltime I was smoking 40 cigarettes a day and drinking heavily. In my mid-twenties I decided to stop drinking because it had got the better of me, but my smoking continued unabated. In the last six months I have smoked less and less mainly due to the price of cigarettes. When I finally stopped I was smoking two to three packs a week. Aside from the price I was coughing a lot and my gums had receded apparently due to a lack of oxygen.
I’m glad I’ve stopped smoking, but I want to stay stopped. So I take the giving up process a day at a time. I’m staying away from smokers, and chewing the nicotine gum every hour, I wear the nicotine patches and use the spray. I haven’t had any real side effects from the NRT (nicotine replacement therapies). Fingers crossed from here on in I live a smoke free life.
Ainslie Gee (Manager of Changing Minds)
It’s been 2 months since I had a cigarette. That’s a fairly surreal thing to say. Truth be told – I didn’t think I would ever say it.
It’s been a fairly remarkable 2 months actually – I’m very proud of my team! Changing Minds has undertaken, successfully, the challenge of becoming 100% Smokefree. As a team, we made the collective decision to make our workplace a smoke free environment. This included:
- Developing a Smokefree Policy and having this approved by the board of Trustee’s
- Establishing the office, grounds and vehicle as Smokefree
- That we are to be trained as quit card coaches, and
- That our team are to be offered regular support to stop smoking.
Changing Minds is also currently hosting a smoke free clinic once a week – run by a Smokefree Advisor from the ‘Smokefree Together 2025 Team’. We are launching Changing Minds as 100% Smokefree on the 29th May, just in time for world Smokefree day.
What has been fantastic is that through this process, the team have independently (all) decided to give up smoking, and the one board of trustee member, who was also smoking, has quit. As the manager of Changing Minds, I am incredibly proud of my colleagues and team – and want to acknowledge them, for supporting me through my journey.
Margaret Lockhart (Project Manager, Changing Minds)
If you’d asked me 3 months ago, I would have told you that I really wanted to give up smoking… I knew it was bad for me, my kids had started asking when I was going to quit, and I really couldn’t afford to pay for it anymore. But, if I’d been honest I couldn’t actually have imagined successfully going six weeks without a cigarette, let alone feeling as good about it as I do now. After smoking for the better part of 15 years (only giving up while pregnant and for brief periods while my girls were very little), I was afraid of not being able to stop… of failing…. and letting myself and my girls down. So I had put off even trying to quit… until now.
When I look back over the last six weeks, there have been challenges and wobbles – moments (especially early on) when I could easily have caved if I had a cigarette in front of me, but on the whole it has not been as hard or scary as I had imagined it would be. What has really helped is having a close friend give up at the same time – the benefits of having someone going through the same things as me, to talk to, motivate me, and keep me going cannot be underestimated. My friends and family have been incredibly supportive and little comments from them about how my skin is looking really healthy, how nice I smell (!) and how pleased they are for me have really cheered me on. Alexander Stevens (Smokefree Advisor – Counties Manukau) has helped with advice and NRT and checking in with him to celebrate little milestones make the few tough moments seem not so bad!
I went for my first run in a long time last night… and I was amazed how much easier it is to get up the hills! I’m so pleased to be where I am now… Bring on the next six weeks!
Kieran Moorhead (Communications Manager, Changing Minds)
I started smoking when I moved to Auckland for university in 2007. I moved to Auckland not knowing anyone and gravitated towards the people who appeared to be in similar circumstances to me, the outsiders and outcasts, smoking huddled in the corner by the basketball court. I made good friends with two of the girls and as they were both smokers, it just made natural sense to join in too. There was no coercion but more a slow progression towards the inevitable. One of them had a balcony off their room, and as the rule-breakers, we would gather under blankets outside smoking until it was time for sleep. We have all drifted apart since then, and as that era has come to its natural end, so has the addiction that we all shared. I used to think smoking helped forge social bonds but it has actually made me a social pariah. I used to think it calmed my anxieties but I have learnt that it has actually been withdrawal symptoms that I have been satisfying. One of the unintended results of stopping smoking is that I actually feel less anxious in my day-to-day life than I use to. I’m looking forward to my new life of being smokefree. 🙂
Getting support to becoming 100% Smokefree
Thinking about stop smoking can be a challenge. However with support it can make a real difference. For more information please talk to one of the friendly team members at the Counties Manukau Health Living Smokefree Service 0800 569 568 (Monday-Friday).
Organisational Resources – Check out the Changing Minds Smokefree Policy