Give yourself a pay rise!

The Stoptober ball comes to Middlemore Hospital
The Stoptober ball comes to Middlemore Hospital

Last week the children from the crèche and Kidz First helped me roll the big red Stoptober ball through Middlemore Hospital. Truth be told the kids actually took the ball off me – who was I to argue! The event was in support of Stoptober – a national campaign, which aims to get smokers to give up the cigarettes for an entire month, starting 1st October.

As an ex-smoker I know it’s hard to give up the cigarettes , however word to the wise, if you can get through the first four weeks you are well on the way to giving up for good. I’m not saying you won’t still have the odd craving – I certainly did, however you really have gone through the worst of it during those first few weeks.

What’s more you’ll start to feel better – your smoker’s cough will disappear, you’ll have more energy to spend with the family, food will smell and taste better and most importantly your clothes won’t stink of stale smoke!   From someone who has been through it – quitting is hugely positive for you and your whaanau …. but you know that, so how to begin?

First of all from the moment you stop smoking – you are classified as a non-smoker.  So on day one reward yourself with that title.   The other tip I have is throw away anything related to smoking, i.e. ashtrays, lighters and of course cigarettes, except for one last cigarette, which I’ll explain later.

Next open up the windows, wash your clothes and anything else that smells like smoke. Once your sense of smell starts to return, you won’t believe just how bad everything used to smell.

Tell you family and friends that you are giving up – that way if you are struggling, or if you are not quite yourself those first few weeks they can give you help and support.

What kept me on the straight and narrow, for the first few weeks is nicotine patches. What the patch does is deliver a small and steady dose of nicotine into the body to relieve some of the withdrawal symptoms, without the tars and poisonous gases found in cigarettes. If the patch isn’t your thing there are gums, sprays, lozenges, and inhalers and a range of medications (on prescription).

The second thing I did was to get a jar, half fill it with water and put some old fag ends in there. Every time you feel like a cigarette take the lid off and breathe deeply – believe me you won’t want to have a cigarette from then on!

The other incentive I can give you is the money you will save. The average smoker will spend $30 a day on cigarettes, which when you take into account the tax you have to pay, you’ll looking at $40 a day or $14,600 a year to pay for your smoking habit, and that’s just for a moderate smoker.  Now if your partner is also a smoker your household has to earn $29,000 just to smoke!

Just imagine what $15, 000 or $29,000 would give you. Imagine the fishing trip you could go on, the car you could buy or the holiday back to see family that you promised yourself but can’t afford. What about putting your kids through University or living rent free for a year? Maybe you could buy season tickets to the Warriors or a box at Eden Park for the test match?

So don’t think of it as giving up smoking think of it as giving yourself a pay rise and use the money you will save to make your dreams come true and not disappear in a puff of smoke.

Now remember that last cigarette I mentioned, I suggest you smoke it tonight, take the time to enjoy it and start your quit journey tomorrow – you won’t regret it.

If you have a quit story to share I’d love to hear from you. Click here to get in touch.

For further information about Stoptober go to

To sign up to a free stop smoking session, available throughout Counties Manukau call Free 0800 569 568 or text NOW to 226



Author: Geraint Martin

Geraint Martin was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Counties Manukau DHB in December 2006. It is one of the largest District Health Boards in New Zealand and services a population of half a million. He has significant experience over 30 years in national policy & in managing both primary and secondary care . Previously, he was Director of Health and Social Care Strategy at the Welsh Government .He authored a radical 10 year strategy of reform, including the successful “Saving 1000 lives” Campaign.Until 2004, he was CEO at Kettering General Hospital & had held senior positions in London & Birmingham.He has worked closely with clinicians in improving clinical standards,patient safety,chronic disease management & managing acute care to reduce hospital demand.In NZ, He has promoted clinical quality and leadership as central to improving patientcare. This has led to a significant increases in productivity and access, whilst maintaining financial balance. CMH has completed in 2014 a $500 m capital redevelopment programme, the largest in New Zealand. A central part of this is the establishment of Ko Awatea,the Centre for Innovation and Research which will underpin CMH as one of the the leading health systems in Australasia.In 2008, he chaired the Ministerial Review of Emergency Care in New Zealand, and in 2013 was an member of the Expert Advisory Panel on Health Sector Performance. Geraint has an MSc in Health Policy from Birmingham University .His post-graduate work has focused on health economics and Corporate Strategy . He is adjunct Professor of Healthcare Management at AUT and Victoria University, Wellington Elected in 2006 as a Companion of the Institute of Healthcare Management, previously he was an Associate Fellow at Birmingham University.He is is Chair of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, a member of the Institute of Directors, on the Board of the NZ Institute of Health Management & previously the Board of The NZ Health Quality and Safety Commission.

One thought on “Give yourself a pay rise!”

  1. Thanks for sharing Geraint, it is hard to give up, but you just have to keep trying, eventually it becomes easy and you honestly fees so much better. I certainly don’t miss the horrible smell on my fingers.

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