Stoptober-ite leads the way

Tamra CarrGeraldton Guardian

About two months after putting out her last cigarette, Geraldton resident and Tackling Indigenous Smoking officer Susannah Dann is hoping to encourage other community members to follow in her footsteps.

Ms Dann, who helps facilitate Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service’s Stoptober campaign, said she began smoking in her mid-teens.

“I started smoking in high school, it was a really silly choice that came out of peer pressure and the general environment,” she said.

“Socialising and stress were the main triggers that caused me to start.

“There were a lot of students smoking when I was in school, and you would have older friends that supplied them.”

Now 30, Ms Dann said she smoked on and off since high school, but finally decided to ditch the tobacco for good after considering her three-year-old daughter.

“A really good friend of mine said, ‘since you have a daughter now, shouldn’t you quit smoking’?

“And that really opened my eyes, my daughter was the main reason for me deciding to quit.

“I don’t want her to go through losing me because of my choice to smoke.”

Ms Dann said working at GRAMS, attending her local church, and becoming educated on the health risks associated with smoking also influenced her decision. The health workersaid now, with friend and family support, willpower, going out, playing basketball and staying busy, she has better ways to cope with stress. “I know I won’t ever pick up a cigarette again,” she said.

Ms Dann and the GRAMS Tackling Indigenous Smoking team have brought the global anti-smoking initiative Stoptober to Geraldton.

GRAMS spokeswoman Derise Jones said the team understood how difficult giving up smoking can be.

“But we also understand the enormous benefits of giving up, not just in terms of your physical health but your economic health too,” Ms Jones said.

“We want all those benefits for our people, the improvement in health, the saved money, the feeling of vitality and achievement.

“That’s why we’re putting our every effort into helping people stop smoking this Stoptober.”

Campaign participants will have their carbon monoxide levels measured, and then tracked weekly with a smokerlyser device.

Tackling Indigenous Smoking officers and clinical health professionals will also host morning teas and after-hours sessions for support and guidance. To register for Stoptober before the month ends, visit the GRAMS Tackling Indigenous Smoking team at 60 Rifle Range Road or call 9956 6555.

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