Shane Davis is two days into life without smoking and already he has saved nearly $80.
The 30-year-old Hamilton diesel mechanic quit smoking as one of his New Year’s resolutions. He took his last drag shortly before the end of 2018 on Monday.
He was one of many to quit tobacco as the New Year began. The Quitline quit-smoking service received 215 calls, emails and text conversations on January 1, up 50 per cent on the number that day a year ago.
Quitline’s chief executive, Andrew Slater, said its busiest time of year is early January, following the influx of people wanting to quit based on a New Year resolution and the annual bump in tobacco prices.
Prices rise sharply from January 1, reflecting the Government’s 10 per cent tobacco excise tax increase. It is considering whether to proceed with the final of its currently planned increases next January.
Davis is feeling crook today but blames the bottle, not the lack of cigarettes; his resolution to quit drinking hit some turbulence.
But what he is happy about is that even though he’s had a bit of a slip on the drinking, he stayed off the smokes.
“When I drink I like to have a durrie too. I did drink last night but I didn’t have a durrie. So that was a good sign.”
Nor is Davis suffering strong cravings to smoke.
“That’s because I haven’t been around anyone that smokes. I have just been with a few close mates and they don’t smoke.”
He’s “the odd one out” and they’re on his case about it.
“I haven’t got the urge to [smoke]. I have been busy and it takes my mind off stuff. If I can do it for the first two days, surely I can do it for the rest of my life.”
Davis smoked from the age of 12. For the last 10 years he has smoked around a pack of 25 cigarettes a day. The last packet of Winfield Red he bought cost around $33. Today they are listed for $39.90 at one online retailer and $38.90 at another.
He doesn’t want his 11-year-old son to smoke, and he is one reason Davis has quit.
“It’s mostly because of my health – I’m not getting any younger and I want to see my son grow up; and the price of it.
“Smoking can kill you – cancer and all that.”
While his first two days of cold-turkey quitting have gone without a hitch, Davis is a bit worried about tomorrow.
“When I go back to work tomorrow, everyone smokes and that will probably be my test.”
“I’m cold turkey at the moment until I get paid and then I’ll probably just buy some gum [nicotine replacement therapy, NRT] to take that edge off.”
He has quit smoking twice before: the first time, he used NRT patches, the second time he vaped on an electronic cigarette.
“I just wasn’t ready to quit. I used to love smoking. But now it’s just getting too expensive.”
He didn’t like vaping, saying it made him feel ill.
Davis hadn’t called the Quitline for help but is considering doing so.
Quitline said it offered those who signed up for a personalised plan to give up smoking a four-week supply of NRT patches, gum or lozenges which cost them around $5, with the option of a free repeat. Without the subsidy, an eight-week supply could cost more than $200.
“Using patches, gum and lozenges for eight weeks can double your chances of quitting.”
Quitline’s Slater said, “The cost of smoking as well as health concerns are key factors for people who choose to quit. This time of year is when many people place an added focus on their health and wellbeing.”
He said around 10 per cent of those enrolled in a Quitline programme over the last year had used vaping to help them quit smoking.
“Vaping is typically less expensive than smoking cigarettes and can be beneficial for people who haven’t been successful using other methods.”
The subsidised NRT can be ordered by registering with Quitline online, or by calling 0800 778 778 or texting 4006. Quitline mails clients a Quitcard prescription to redeem at a pharmacy or it can be faxed directly to their pharmacy.