World
Smokefree
Day 2021

Commit to Quit 31st May 2021

Shantelle Kershaw

Ethnicity: Māori

Iwi: Te Rarawa, Ngā Puhi, Waikato

Hapū: Ngāti Tamatea, Ngāti Te Maara, Ngāi Tūteauru, Ngāti Tipa, Ngāti Tahinga

Hometown: Currently living in Waitakere, Tāmaki Makaurau

Smoking Background: 

Sad to say, I had my first try of a cigarette at the tender age of approximately 9years old. Smoked all through intermediate & high school & then became totally addicted. 32 years after trying my first cigarette I finally quit smoking and haven’t had a cigarette for nearly 7 years! 

Q: What kept me smoking for so long? 

A: Addiction & feeling like I needed to fit in! I tried many times over 32years to quit smoking, but couldn’t even last a day. Smoking for me was a stress release, it’s pretty much what my whole whānau & my friends were doing so it was inevitable really, I guess? Back then, you could count the non-smokers on one hand. Every time I got pregnant though, I stopped smoking the moment I found out, I knew it could harm my babies so was able to stop, without any issues at all…. After I stopped breastfeeding, I fell straight back into my bad habits and started smoking again. When I started my smokefree journey, I discovered that I wasn’t just addicted to nicotine, I also had a habitual addiction. 

Q: What’s one piece of advice for someone who’s thinking about starting their smokefree journey? 

A: Don’t follow the hype of making public announcements that you’re thinking of starting your smokefree journey, everyone’s different, some people think that it keeps you ‘accountable’ by making public statements but for me, I think it’s just putting unnecessary pressure on yourself, trying to keep promises that no-one asked you to make and at the end of the day, is not even anyone else’s business. You’re already fighting the big fight by trying to break the addiction, so just grind away & work hard at it every day, I reckon. Sometimes too, you need to remove yourself from those things that ‘trigger’ your want for a cigarette… When I gave up, I did it at the beginning of winter and pretty much hibernated! I stayed away from social events, didn’t go out anywhere, definitely stayed away from the drink too as these two pretty much went hand in hand for me. Well, that’s what worked for me anyway! Kia Kaha, Kia Maia, Kia Manawanui!

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