Building a Better Health Service


Staff Leaders share first week of Quit journey

Last week, we introduced our three staff Quit Leaders – Shauna Strutt, Jennifer Curtis and Martha Clarke who are taking part in the 28-day no smoking challenge

You can find out more about why the Quit Leaders are quitting here

As we head into the second week of the challenge for our Quit Leaders, we check in with them to see how they are getting on.

Shauna’s first week

“Monday was my quit date and D-day for me.  I made sure to get rid of all my lighters and any boxes of cigarettes I had lying around so that I’m not tempted.

“I had a call with my Stop Smoking Advisor that day and we talked through the withdrawal process and what I could expect. I’m glad that we did that as I have been feeling a bit rough and having some withdrawal symptoms. I’m been having some headaches and a chesty cough but I know that is because nicotine is leaving my body and that things will improve soon.

“I also noticed that I have been a bit irritable and stressed during the week. Again this because of nicotine withdrawal. My colleagues know that I am giving up smoking which is good.   I am chewing a lot of gum to help cope with my cravings and I find that is helping me.

“Even though I am having some withdrawal symptoms, my motivation is really high. It will be put to the test a bit at the weekend when I have a big night out but my friends have promised to help keep me on track.”

Jennifer’s first week

“I’m finding the challenge a lot easier than I taught it would be, I really think that’s down to determination to quit and the fact that I mentally prepared myself for two weeks before I actually quit.     If somebody told me I had to quit and I didn’t really want to, I don’t think I’d be coping so well, it’s all about wanting to quit and the mental preparation.

“Also Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) is really effective, I don’t think I’d be doing so well without it.   I’ve chosen to use the 2mg of gum and the 15mg inhalator. The gum I’m finding really effective with easing the cravings. The inhalator is also a good aid as it gives a sensation of inhaling almost like when you are smoking a cigarette with a smoke-like sensation hitting the back of your throat so I find that very effective also.

“My cravings come and go in waves. When they come I reach for the gum or inhalator.  I’ve noticed the peak time is in the evenings for me. I’ve been distracting myself in the evening as much as I can, keeping busy with things like hovering.   Last night I baked a cake after dinner so the keeping busy, busy, busy is helping.

“I have noticed the cravings are intensifying in the evenings as the days are going on but they are bearable. I have replaced the cigarette after each meal which I really enjoyed with sweet herbal teas such as lemon and ginger. That is stopping me from reaching for chocolate or sweets.

“The urge to actually physically smoke a cigarette hasn’t crossed my mind as I’m in the mind frame every day that  I’ve come this far why would you undo what you have achieved so far and have to start over again?”

Martha’s first week

“I decided to delay my Quit date by a day to make sure that I was really ready to quit so I started on Wednesday. Things have been going really well so far.  I’m using NRT patches at the moment which are helping with my urge to smoke. I forgot to put one on when I was going to visit my friend the other day and I really noticed a difference with my cravings

“I am going to speak to my Stop Smoking Advisor about other NRT methods. I think I would like to try the mouth spray.  I had a good test of my willpower when I ended up going for drinks on Friday. I hadn’t been planning on going out so soon into the challenge but I was able to get through the night without wanting to smoke and I had a really good time.

“The people I was out with were smoking but took in turns to go out and made sure I wasn’t left on my own. That really helped because I think it would be hard to be in the smoking area.  If I am in a situation where people are heading out to smoke in the future, I will ask if someone would stay inside with me. People want to help so I don’t think it’s a problem.

“I was really pleased that I hadn’t smoked the next morning. I felt a lot better than I usually would after a night out and that has made me realise how smoking was making me feel.  I have a family christening coming up next weekend so that will be another test for me but I feel good about it after not slipping up last week.”

If you have started the 28-day challenge and are experiencing withdrawal symptoms there is lots of information here. It’s not too late to join the challenge. You will find lots of tools, tips and support to quit and information on local Stop Smoking Services at  or by calling the Freephone Quitline on 1800 201 203.