Q: Have you had any positive feedback about the campaign from friends, family or members of the public?
A: The feedback I have received because of this campaign has been overwhelmingly positive. The vast majority of friends and people I come across at university, and the places I work at in everyday life, have been very supportive of the message the smoking campaign has been bringing across. Even my 7-year-old sister and 12-year-old brother have been telling me that people at their school have seen me telling them online that ‘picking up my first cigarette was one of the worst choices I’ve ever made in my life’. I find great satisfaction in that; in how they can view the anecdotal story at an age when they are so malleable and have the potential to be influenced as such. I really, really hope deep down that what they’ve heard will leave them a lasting impression; and hopefully they will carry that message on with them into their teenage years.
I have been very lucky the past few months in finding and maintaining the right group of friends to surround myself with; non-smoking friends with a positive attitude and influence, who I know have my best interests at heart. My family members and friends who I hold very dear to my heart understand the importance of quitting smoking for me. Even to this day I am constantly reminded by myself in the media that I am not alone in quitting smoking.
I truly believe it is a something I will struggle with for a while. I still find myself daydreaming and reminiscing about cigarettes, and sometimes I look at people who are smoking and feel a hint of jealousy. I know that as the months progress, it will get easier and easier.
Q: Can you tell us about any family or friends that have attempted to quit or cut down as a direct result of you being in the campaign?
A: Matthew, the one who I brought along with me to the day of filming, has told me he’s trying to cut down as a result. I haven’t seen him in a while, but I hope he will see the benefit in quitting soon and will go cold turkey and quit like I have. I think because of the age I am, not a lot of people realise that social smoking or the occasional cigarette here or there is very dangerous, especially when the health effects haven’t caught up to them yet.
I have one friend living in Singapore who sticks out in mind. He’s one of a few friends who I keep in touch with still (being born in New Zealand, I moved here to Australia from Singapore three years ago). It’s really nice to know that my old friends in Singapore have seen the Facebook videos and they have been sharing it on their timeline. I know this campaign is targeted towards people in WA, but to know that this campaign has even reached audiences overseas through online videos just goes to show how powerful and influential social media can be, and how great it would be to have the next generation slowly phase out cigarettes and make cigarettes history, not just in Australia but around the world.
Q: Now that the advertisement’s been on air for a few months, can you tell us your reflections about your experience in the campaign, from filming to now?
A: I try not to let it get to my head, but I am so happy that I have played a part in making a difference for the health of Western Australians. That is truly, hand across heart, my payment, and I find great contentment in that. It’s also given me a chance to make new friendships with people who are also involved in the smoking campaign, and I am so happy that I have a new ‘support group’ of some sort, who I can phone whenever I feel I’m about to slip up. As the other people in the campaign are a lot older than me, I find a lot of wisdom in what they say to me, over the phone and over lunch and in the few times we have caught up. I am so stoked the campaign is being extended to August in bringing across this message of not smoking around quitters.
Q: How have you been going with quitting smoking?
A: Great. The ‘My QuitBuddy App’ has been very useful as well. It would send me reminders during my ‘danger times’ and I would see pictures of my sister and people I love, and meditate on that for a while until the cravings disappear. I did have a couple of lapses, but when I started surrounding myself with more positive, smoke-free friends, I found it so much easier to quit smoking.
I don’t recall a time in my life before I started smoking where I’ve been smoke-free for this long. I am very happy about that.
Q: Would you like to tell us anything else?
A: From Day 1 till now, there have been days where I’ve wondered what I’ve gotten myself into, admittedly, I have a very impulsive personality. I think to myself, yes, I’m going to quit smoking, and after a smoke I say “No, that’s enough, cigarettes are disgusting, what am I doing?” Whenever something bad happens to me, such as when I broke-up with my ex or if I’m just having a stressful day, I find myself talking myself into buying another packet of cigarettes, thinking it’s okay to smoke again. Now, I try to remember the feeling of disappointment and shame I always feel afterwards whenever I feel tempted to light up again.