Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Ex-smokers don't look back

Ahead of the 50th anniversary of the first US Surgeon General’s report to link smoking with cancer, Shepparton residents have talked about their decision to kick the habit.

CHLOE WARBURTON January 13, 2014 4:39am

Dean Gardiner hasn't smoked in two months, after giving up cold turkey.

For Dean Gardiner, the reason to quit smoking cold turkey two months ago was simple.

‘‘I want to be around for my two little children, so I did it for them as much as I did it for myself,’’ he said.

The Shepparton resident spoke to The News ahead of the 50th anniversary of the first US Surgeon General’s report to link smoking with cancer.

He took up smoking when he was 14 years old and seven years later, he decided it was time to quit.

‘‘I’d had enough of it, the prices were getting a bit high,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ve got my kids to think about now.’’

Though cold turkey has been a difficult road, Mr Gardiner encouraged others to stay strong if they were giving up smoking.

‘‘I’ve thought about a smoke a few times when I’m stressed or if I’m at the pub and my mates are smoking,’’ he said.

‘‘I had a couple of draws on a cigarette, but there’s no looking back now.’’

Benalla resident Rene Martens gave up his habit after 53 years — he started when he was nine years old.

‘‘A lot of it was peer pressure, and at that time we didn’t know about the health implications,’’ he said.

‘‘My parents smoked — I used to pinch a couple of cigarettes and smoke them while I was walking the dog.’’

Six years ago, Mr Martens decided it was time to give up because it was beginning to affect his health and also made him feel anti-social around friends.

He tried hypnotherapy and nicotine patches before turning to the prescription medication Zyban, but that didn’t work either.

‘‘About four years ago, I heard about Champix (a prescription drug) and went back to the doctor. It was what got me off smoking, but it was still hard ... I still have inklings to smoke sometimes, but I always stop myself.’’

Mr Martens advised anyone thinking of using prescription drugs to quit smoking to consider side effects and to keep trying.

For help with quitting smoking, visit

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