Chooseday pledger: Hannah

Hannah speaks with us about caving into social smoking, being asthmatic and how the 12.5% tax increase effects her.

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When did you start smoking?

I tried my first cigarette at 15, though I didn’t pick it up habitually until about 17.

 

How many cigarettes do you smoke a week?

It varies, though I’ve tried cutting right down so that I only smoke on the weekends. I may go through a pack or two over a week.

What are your smoking triggers?

Definitely being around fellow smokers. Also social situations heighten when alcohol is involved.

Do you cave in to these triggers?

Yes, almost every time.

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What made you want to take the #chooseday pledge?

A lot of people know me as a smoker, though they mightn’t know that I’m also asthmatic. No one should smoke, but us asthmatics especially are putting ourselves at a very dangerous risk. I also don’t agree with the 12.5% inclination being put on the annual tobacco tax.

How long have being doing #chooseday?

I’ve undertaken the Chooseday challenge for roughly three months now.

How has it been?

Honestly, I’ve caved a few times, but more often than not I’ve kept on track with the pledge. Chooseday’s social media presence has been increasingly influential, and I love reading about other people’s progresses!

Since beginning #chooseday has quitting smoking seemed like a more achievable goal?

Definitely! Chooseday is the reason I’ve cut right back on smoking throughout the week, and I’ve become quite accustomed to it. Quitting smoking altogether is the ultimate goal, and I feel like I can achieve that with huge thanks to the motivation that Chooseday has inspired!

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Chooseday pledger: Francisco

Francisco or Coco to some, tells us why we decided to take the Chooseday pledge and makes a case for e-cigarettes. 

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When did you start smoking?

I started smoking when I was around 15. I’m now 26.

 

How many cigarettes do you smoke a week?

Buying normal packets of cigarettes was too expensive so I switched over to rolling my own because it was cheaper. Can’t really calculate how many but I smoke about 40 grams of tobacco a week.

 

What are your smoking triggers?

Being outside with other smokers and general social gatherings. Oh and when I drink.

 

Do you cave in to these triggers?

Once I get intoxicated there’s no stopping me.

 

What made you want to take the #chooseday pledge?

I ran up Basser Steps and found my breathing to be an issue, thought I should at least try to quit. For my health.

 

How long have being doing #chooseday?

Almost a month now

 

How has it been?

Really hard, I have cut back on smoking tobacco but I have replaced it with electronic cigarettes. I’ve been spending the same amount of money but I do feel a lot better.

 

Since beginning #chooseday has quitting smoking seemed like a more achievable goal?

Definitely

Chooseday pledger: Timothy

First cab off the rank, Timothy O’Brien. We sat down with this third year media student in week four of his Chooseday journey to discuss all things smoking, addiction and positive peer pressure.  Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 10.46.58 AM When did you start smoking?

I started smoking when I was about 16 years old.  

How many cigarettes do you smoke a week?

Initially I only smoked socially, but it progressed to daily and at home. At that point I was smoking about 30 cigarettes a week.  

What are your smoking triggers?

Whenever I see or smell cigarette smoke, if I see someone smoking on television, or if I have alcohol.  

Do you cave in to these triggers?

In most cases, yes.  

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What made you want to take the #chooseday pledge?

Well, some of my friends encouraged me to do it. I had been meaning to quit for a while and seeing the facebook campaign encouraged me to take the final step. So I would classify it as social pressures.  

How long have being doing #chooseday?

About 4-5 weeks now.  

How has it been?

It has been very helpful and rewarding, I am able to interact with other who are smoking as well as learn some interesting things about the damage that smoking can do. I am also reminded every Tuesday of why I am doing this, which further motivates me.  

Since beginning #chooseday has quitting smoking seemed like a more achievable goal? Absolutely. It has been an ongoing process as I am constantly reminded of my mission on social media. It’s a campaign that I can interact with daily, and I can understand that my goal is realistic and definitive.

Ways to help: Support

Online and offline support can really help when trying to quit smoking. Since primary school we have been warned against the dangers of smoking and provided with reasons to quit from the cost of a single packet to the endless amount of health reasons. Despite knowing the various reasons to quit, when smoking addiction is at its peak it can be hard to comprehend these reasons. It is in this time that the smoker needs support. Support can come in all forms whether it be reading a quit story to attending a cessation workshop, no matter how big or small these all help and work as a stepping stone towards a smoke free life. Here at Chooseday we have listed some support networks for those considering cessation.

Online

Online support directory – WhyQuit is a great directory for all forms of addiction support. Their nicotine addiction section directs you to all types of sites list the type of forum, midyear cessation rate and membership requirements. Check out if you are unsure where to start or if you are quitting with a certain method e.g. cold turkey, lozenge.

ICanQuit – Our Aussie readers this ones for you. ICanQuit is an online service of the Cancer Institute of NSW, the website hosts application My Journey which allows you to set goals, track your progress and share your experiences. The site also provides helpful support on ‘Staying quit’ stating that “every attempt to quit smoking takes you one step closer to being smoke free“.

Offline

Speak with a loved one Although this may seem hard to admit that you are addicted, trust me you will feel better. Talking with a trusted friend or family member helps as there is a guarantee that this person knows you better than you know yourself. Through discussing your addiction you with them you are better able to work through methods to quitting. Speaking with a loved one also has a level of accountability as they can hold you up to your promises and keep you on the right path when strayed.

Attend a quit workshop – A more old-school approach to addiction support, a group workshop could be exactly what you need. The purpose of a cessation workshop is to create a forum of both education and support, with individuals and experts together sharing their experiences with nicotine addiction. For our NSW readers The Cancer Council hosts a free one-day Smoking Care Intervention Workshop, click here for more information.

Engage in alternative therapies – There are a number of emerging support therapies which in conjunction with other forms of support can assist in achieving a smokefree goal. Hypnotherapy and visualization are becoming increasingly popular within quitting circles. These therapies occur on a one-on-one basis meaning that it is a tailored program, designed specifically towards your cessation journey. These therapies also appeal individuals as it is a confidential practice, revolving around you and the therapist. If this is something that appeals to you keep an eye out for our upcoming ‘ways to help’ post on alternative methods to battle nicotine addiction.

Reason to quit: Social

Societal values and personal appearance play a massive role in deciding to quit smoking. With the majority of quitters admitting that what others thought of them smoking, was a residing factor in their decision to quit. This links heavily into individual appearance as cigarette smoking has the ability to alter ones external features from yellowing fingers to causing permanent skin damage.

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This is the basis for Queensland Government’s ‘If you smoke, your future’s not pretty campaign’ which aims to curb smoking addictions within the female population. By appealing to inward vanity the campaign encourages individuals to upload a photo to the Future You Smoking Booth and see how your appearances ages when smoking. Our Chooseday writer, Lucy road-tested this fun app and found the results scary, see below.

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What we love about this initiative is that plays on the vulnerabilities of a smoker by talking about the future effects smoking will have on your appearance. More importantly, the campaign works towards seeing a reduction in female smoking in Queensland, where one in five women smoke whilst pregnant. Queensland readers make sure you check out the ‘If you smoke, your future’s is not pretty’ roadshow.

Here’s where you’ll find the roadshow next week:

Thursday October 23 (9am-5pm): Sunshine Coast, Sunshine Plaza, Maroochydore

Saturday October 25 (9am-5pm): Brisbane, Westfield Garden City, Mt Gravatt

Ways to help: Apps

Our reliance on smartphone technology has been highly criticised by the mass media with fears that the apps, websites and social networking sites we rely are leading to forms of addition and antisocial behaviour. Although we are spending hours on consumed by these platforms, there is increasing evidence that this addictive technology may be helping curb other dangerous addictions. There  thousands of apps designed to help curb smoking addictions, with the majority focused on creating sustainable goals for quitting. Here at Chooseday we have categorised our top five apps, reviewed by Erica Roth.

1. My Last Cigarette – Stop Smoking Stay Quit

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My Last Cigarette is one of the original smoking cessation apps, and it’s easy to see why it’s stuck around. The program has helped thousands of people quit smoking by pointing out the positives. The app calculates the money you’ll save by not smoking, but more importantly, it tells you how much longer you could live smoke free. Daily motivational messages and medical facts help keep you on track.

2. Quit It Lite

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Quit It Lite is a motivational program that helps you track your smoking cessation goals in a different way. Instead of tracking your nicotine consumption, Quit It Lite focuses on what you haven’t done. The app tracks the cigarettes you didn’t smoke, the tar that didn’t absorb into your bloodstream, and the money you didn’t spend on tobacco products. The physical benefits of quitting are displayed, based on how long you’ve gone without smoking.

3. Craving to Quit

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Craving to Quit is a free trial of Craving Quit Pro, a 21-day smoking cessation program developed by and tested at Yale University. Using group-based training principles, Craving to Quit’s customizable features help you develop goals and remind you to check in daily in order to track your progress. Playlists provide audio and visual instruction, nightly reflections, and exercise tracks to keep you moving and motivated. You can also upgrade to Craving to Quit Pro in order to access all 21 days of instruction.

4. Quit Smoking with Andrew Johnson

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Clinical hypnotherapist and stress management expert Andrew Johnson is known for his self-help programs. Johnson’s inspirational messages help people with many kinds of addiction. Now his confidence-boosting program is available to people who want to quit smoking.

For many people, it’s not just the act of smoking that makes quitting difficult, but the situations that make you want to smoke. Quit Smoking with Andrew Johnson teaches you how to break habits that you’ve associated with smoking. The lessons make you relax your mind and body until you’re ready to let smoking go.

5. LIVESTRONG MyQuit Coach

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LIVESTRONG’s MyQuit Coach app can help you quit smoking your way. The physician-approved app lets you personalize your journey and make quitting smoking fit into your lifestyle. Choose to quit “cold turkey” or reduce your nicotine use with a step-down approach. Features include analyzing your nicotine consumption, tracking your cravings, and making resolutions that are meaningful to you.

Read more great reviews here.

Do you use apps? If yes, is it one above or another?