Chewing gum is more fun
Hailie Verry is one of thousands of New Zealanders who have kicked the smoking habit.
A Health Ministry survey released recently shows the number of adult Kiwi smokers has dipped below 20 percent for the first time in 30 years.
Figures show about 150,000 fewer adults are smoking since the previous survey, five years earlier.
Ms Verry decided to make a fresh start when she began a new job a month ago.
She started smoking 10 years ago as a 12-year-old because her friends were doing it.
Using subsidised nicotine patches from Quitline, the 22-yearold has stopped smoking altogether.
“At the end of the day I’ll notice I’m not wearing a patch.”
But the central city resident’s need to replace lighting up with something else is also a challenge she has had to overcome.
“Chewing gum is a huge thing,” she says. “I play with my mobile a lot too.”
With most of her family living in Australia, Ms Verry says support from friends and Quitline helped her stay off the cigarettes, after previous attempts to give up failed.
“Willpower comes into play but it’s easier doing it when you’ve got someone to report back to.”
She has also noticed an increase in her bank balance since she stopped smoking up to 20 cigarettes a day, which cost her around $70 a week.
“I don’t want to work out how much money I spent on them in the last few years.”
And she has discovered the benefit of not having to go outside during the middle of winter for a smoke.
“The cold is definitely a big deterrent,” she says.
Prime Minister Helen Clark says the figures show measures like smokefree legislation and subsidised patches are working.
The study carried out between October 2006 and November 2007 also shows significant drops in the number of Maori and Pacific people smoking.
And another survey has revealed a drop in rates among year 10 students, from 28.6 percent in 1999 to 12.8 percent in 2007.
Ash director Ben Youdan says he is pleased to see children are “rejecting a life of addiction”.
Breaking the habit: Hailie Verry is reaping the benefits of giving up smoking thanks to nicotine patches.