Nelson Marlborough Health quit coach Karen Petrie (right) has helped a group of Stoke New World workers, including Mo Taylor (left) to stop smoking. Photo: Kate Russell.

Workers quit smoking together


Mo Taylor has a goal – to be completely free of nicotine replacement therapy products by his 46th birthday.

He is one of four Stoke New World employees who are now nine-weeks smoke-free, thanks to the Nelson Marlborough Health stop smoking workplace programme.

Mo says he’s been smoking a packet of cigarettes a day since he was 21 – apart from a few smoke-free weeks during surgeries.

“I feel positive. It’s still a long road, but hopefully by my birthday on 13 March that’ll be that, and the patches will be done.”

He says the $190 to $200 a week he was spending on cigarettes now goes towards new fishing reels and “a few new pairs of shoes”.

When a phone call came into the supermarket to see if any staff would be interested in participating in the programme, Mo says he was reluctant.

“I wasn’t too sure about it, but I was looking at what I was doing to my life, and actually, I wasn’t that well. Most mornings I would be sick, and it was affecting not only my health, but my state of mind.”

The group started the seven-week programme at the end of August. They met one hour per week during worktime with quit coach Karen Petrie, who Mo credits for his success.

“The support and the information I’ve had from Karen and being around a group of people has actually made it quite an enjoyable experience.”

Di Bilson says the programme has been “life-changing” for her.

“Smoking was financially ruining me. Being on one income, I couldn’t really afford to smoke. But I’d always find the money and dig myself a bigger hole. I was smoking a packet a day, that’s $180 a week.”

Lynette Emms, 64, will be retiring soon and says she started smoking when she was 16.

“I’ve only given up once in my life, for three months. But I was getting sick. It was my health that was worrying me,” she says.

“There were no excuses anymore, I was putting it off. I had the support and the products, and I had somebody to put me on the right path.”

She says she is feeling “fantastic” because of the programme.

“I don’t use my puffer anymore, I was a bad asthmatic because of my smoking. It’s the best thing.”

Karen says the programme is free and provides motivational group and one-to-one support, nicotine replacement therapy products and information about other quitsmoking products and services.

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