Skip links and keyboard navigation

After 54 years of smoking, I quit!

Wednesday 31 May 2017

Image of elderly man holding grandchild's hand with the text
After 54 years of smoking, John quit.

As a smoker for 54 years, John Walsh is proud to share his quit journey using the rural, regional and remote program through Quitline.

The 69 year old Poona resident has been quit for over 100 days and recalls the exact moment he made the life-changing phone call.

“I remember it was 7:30am on 18 February when I stopped,” he said.

“I was sitting beside my granddaughter’s hospital bed at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane and we were talking about smoking, and I said ‘well I’m going to give it up’, and I phoned them up right then and there.

“I’ve never looked back, and it’s great to know she’s proud of her granddad.”

John was 15 years old when he started smoking.

“In those days, everybody smoked, so I was just following what everybody else did,” he said.

“I had tried before to give it up, like cold turkey and cutting down on smoking. There was a quit program a number of years ago where all they asked you to do was smoke what you normally smoke one day, then the next day smoke one less, and so on.

“I got down to about 4 cigarettes and I thought ‘bugger this!’.

“But this time, I went in it with a lot of determination.

“I went through the entire quit program, and I reckon two-thirds of the way through I could have stopped it, but I thought ‘no, I’ll see it out to the end’ and I’m absolutely wrapped that I did.

“It was just a matter of working out where the triggers were that sets me off for a cigarette, and to keep remembering why I gave it up.”

John said his main reason for quitting smoking was the expense.

“There are two reasons for giving it up; it’s either health or wealth, and it doesn’t matter which one you give it up for, you’re going to benefit both ways,” he said.

“For me, it was wealth. I’m on an aged pension, so even if I only smoked 20 cigarettes a day, that’s burning a quarter of my pension and setting it up in smoke.”

When asked what the benefits of being a non-smoker are, John said it’s more than just having money in the bank.

“I’ve lost the cough that I used to have every morning and evening and now, after a bit of exercise, I don’t breathe as heavily as I used to,” he said.

The Quitline Rural, Regional and Remote program commenced February 2017 and has since helped 557 people across Queensland. The program involves tailored support from Quitline counsellors and nicotine replacement therapy.

“The people at Quitline are great, I always look forward to their phone calls, just to brag about how well I’m doing,” John said, with a chuckle.

“My advice to others is to give it a go; you’ll never be sorry, and if you don’t give it a go, you’ll never know.

“Go in with confidence and commit yourself to quitting.”

For a tailored approach to help you quit, call 13QUIT (13 78 48) or visit the Quitline website.

Last updated: 23 August 2017