Q: Have you had any positive feedback about the campaign?
A: I’ve had a huge amount of feedback from family, friends and the public. I’ve had random people come up to me while sitting in the car outside Coles, saying, "Excuse me, are you the lady from the don't smoke around me ad? You were amazing and so genuine, I nearly wanted to cry, that ad is so powerful". People at my job call me the ‘star of the centre’, and the elderly people have shared how they love the ad and that it promotes healthy living for the people in the community. My clients at Save the Children, who are aged between 12 and 18, always comment on the ad. I think they feel proud to know someone on TV, but they feel they can connect to the value of the ad too, so they promote it to their friends.
Every day since the launch of the ad I’ve had people tell me how they have stopped smoking too, or asking me more questions about ways to quit. I support them by sharing my story, and offering times and days to meet up to have ongoing conversations about not smoking, like a stop smoking support group. I’ve loved it because I am still smoke-free and will continue to be.
Q: Can you tell us about anyone who has attempted to quit as a result of you
being in the commercial?
A: My stepdaughter has given up smoking, she hasn't said that it is due to the ad but I believe that it has had a huge impact on her. She has done an incredible job and it makes us so proud of her that she is caring for and loving herself by quitting. My partner Patiu has cut down dramatically from three 40 packs per week, to one 40 pack a week - which is huge. I feel this is due to me stopping, and as smoking was a social event for us, he has no one to smoke with anymore, so he spends more time inside with us.
Q: Now that the advertisement’s been on air for a few months, how are you feeling
about your involvement in the campaign?
A: Initially seeing myself in the ad was very confronting for me, I couldn't really watch it because of insecurities, however, over time I have become extremely proud of my efforts, and have embraced the exposure (tears and all). My friends and family have given me such great encouragement and inspiration i.e. "The ad is so real and hits home, especially how you were, your emotions that came out through the TV were so powerful, were you crying for real?" "Yes, I was crying for real".
The experience in the campaign came at a valuable time for me. The reality of making an ad helped me to remain focused [on quitting].
To date I am over the moon, and value myself more from the experience. I’d actually want to do more ads! Above all, the proudest moment for me is my children’s response. I know I have inspired them to live healthier. My 10-year-old daughter is the best advocate and support, she is so proud of me. For me, this is the cream on the cake.
Q: How have you been going with quitting smoking?
A: Oh my gosh, it is such a journey and there are moments that I feel Iike [I want to] have a smoke, but I don't because I have come so far. These times are usually stressful or anxious, and I am slowly attuning myself to a consistent frame of mind, mindfulness, meditation, doing things that I am passionate about.
Q: Would you like to tell us anything else?
A: I loved meeting everyone that took part, and I would love to be a part of anything and everything that helps promote no smoking. Thank you to Make Smoking History, we have one more person to support and then my entire family will be smoke-free!