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Don’t give up trying to quit

One in seven Queenslanders aged 14 and older are daily smokers but the state’s Quitline service has recorded a sharp rise in callers desperate to kick the habit.

To mark World No Tobacco Day, Queensland Health is urging smokers to persist in their efforts to quit rather than give up the first time they fall off the wagon.

“Don’t despair if you do not quit on your first attempt,” Eva James from Quitline said.

“In fact, you should be commended for taking that first step – it shows you’re serious about giving up smoking and improving your health.

“Our advice is to keep trying. There are numerous techniques to quitting smoking that have proven successful for many people that you can try.”

The National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2016 showed 43 per cent of Queensland smokers wanted or tried to quit smoking – or at least cut down – but were unable to do so.

However, Queensland Health’s Quitline has helped countless people ditch the habit.

In 2017-18 financial year, the service received 35,470 calls, a 21 per cent increase compared with the previous year.

Walter Humphreys, 56, from Aitkenvale, has been on four Quitline programs over the past two years and has managed to cut down each time.

“When I first called Quitline I was smoking 100 cigarettes a day. From 5am to 10pm, I’d smoke all day,” Mr Humphreys said.

“But Quitline gave me the support I needed and I used the patches and spray. I went from 100, down to 80, to 60, to 40, to 20 to nothing.

“I started again but I’ve got to give it away because I’ve got COPD. I hope one day I can be an ambassador for Quitline, share my experience with others. Because I know how hard it is.”

Queensland men were 45 per cent more likely to be daily smokers than women.

Mr Humphreys said Quitline taught him to go back to basics.

“You have to change your way of thinking. Take your mind off smoking, the key is to keep busy,” he said.

“I know one day I’ll be off them completely.”

Rhiannon McKay, 30, from Beaconsfield near Mackay has been smoke free for almost two months.

She said quitting has enabled her to create great memories with her four children.

“I’ve got so much more energy now, I can go out and do things with them on the weekend,” Ms McKay said.

“I’ve also got more money if they need something.”

Ms McKay used Champix but found the Quitline equally important.

“Having that advice on how to kick the cravings. They also provided great support, telling me how well I was doing,” she said.

Quitline (13 7848) is a free confidential support service for people who want to quit smoking.

Quitline counsellors can develop personalised quit plans, discuss how to manage cravings or withdrawals, and chat about nicotine replacement therapy and quitting medications.

Last updated: 31 May 2019