I've suffered drug, alcohol and gambling addiction over the years but smoking was and is by far the worst of them all. The hardest to kick, yet so easy to do. I've smoked since I was 13. I'm 53. One month ago I stopped. Why? Because I knew it would kill me eventually. I still have headaches, bad dreams and breathing problems but I know they'll improve over time.

- Bill

Cigarette in the shape of a syringe

I was in the army for 30 years. They taught me to survive in all sorts of inhospitable places and in all conditions but there was one enemy that I did not see. Smoking was a part of life in the army, it slowly creeped up on me and got me. I have had three strokes. I never heard or saw it, and it didn’t kill me but worse, it destroyed me. I can never work again. I was once more active than a bull but now I just sit here in wonder how did that little bugger get me? I’m still fighting it today - the invisible enemy.

- David

 Cartoon image showing a hand holding a cigarette. Smoke emitted says "Crude oil BENZENE", "Ammonia", "Poison", "Battery", "Nail polish remover"

I smoked for 30 years and enjoyed it until 2016 when I decided I had enough so I quit cold turkey. One year later I had a head scan because I had high blood pressure and they discovered 3 brain aneurysms. I had one coiled* and was met with some clotting in the brain, lucky doctors got to it in time. All results from smoking.

- Carol

*Coiling is a common procedure for treating aneurysms that involves steering a catheter from the groin up to the brain.

Carol sitting on a rock wearing black t-shirt, shorts and shoes with water in background

I had my first cigarette at age 6. At age 10 I was smoking 5 a day and by age 14 a pack of 20 a day. A carton of 200 B&H cost $2. At age 38 I was told I had emphysema but still didn’t quit. When I first started smoking there were no warnings on the packs. At age 62 I was smoking 90 cigarettes a day. I coughed all day and night and was always unwell. I was slowly killing myself. It was either give up or die a slow and painful death. I’ve not had a cigarette now for over two years and although I still have emphysema my quality of life has improved, I don’t stink from cigarettes smoke anymore and I no longer cough. I also save over $300 a week.

- El'aine

 Loose tobacco and a filter laying on a rolling paper that is actually a $50 note

I was a heavy smoker until one day I got food poisoning which set off an unknown an aneurysm to burst in my brainstem. High blood pressure, stress, and the smoking added to it. I didn't know I had one until it ruptured. I have severe balance issues with vertigo and eyesight problems. Lucky I am still alive and very grateful too. I haven't smoked since that day.

- Lee

Image of Lee side on from the shoulders up wearing a check shirt and smiling

Other stories you may like

Tony smiling at the camera

Tony's Story

Tony had been smoking for 35 years when he was diagnosed with a tumour in his lower jaw. The surgeon told him he needed to operate immediately to save his jaw bone.

Portrait of Doreen from shoulders up wearing a purple shirt and smiling at the camera

Doreen's Story

I guess I’d just like to say that it definitely wasn’t an easy thing to do, I made several attempts and it's all about getting the nicotine out of your body so if people can work through that, also the knowledge from the health information on what damage it does.

Portrait of Dorothy from shoulders up wearing a white shirt and looking at the camera

Dorothy's Story

What put me off the smoking... I looked after my brother, he had lung cancer and he had half his lung taken off. I cared for him for 8 years.

Portrait of Kay from shoulders up wearing a Black and white stripe shirt and smiling at the camera

Kay's Story

I promised my Dad, and then he passed on, so I sort of made the commitment for him.

Free Quit Support

Talk to the Quitline

The Quitline is a confidential telephone advice and information service for people who want to quit smoking.

My QuitBuddy App

The My QuitBuddy App tracks your quitting progress, such as days smoke-free, cigarettes avoided, health gained and dollars saved.

Google Play ButtonApp Store Button
Proven Tips To Quit

Some people think quitting is about willpower, but to quit successfully means being prepared, and understanding your smoking triggers.

Find tips on quitting