Mother quits smoking to protect her girls

HANNAH MCLEOD
Last updated 05:00 12/06/2014
Jasmine Heads
NICOLE JOHNSTONE/Fairfax NZ

TEAM EFFORT: Bluff Kindergarten teacher Jasmine Heads paints with her daughter Vana Savage, 4, left, and pupil Storm Metzger, 4, at the kindergarten. Heads completed a programme to help her quit smoking.

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The night her grandmother died of lung cancer, Jasmine Heads lit her first cigarette.

Nine years later, Heads hopes she has put down the smokes for good.

"I don't want to preach, because to be honest I really enjoyed smoking and I'm nervous that I might go back."

It wasn't the cost of smoking or the effect on her health that made her decide to quit, she said. "It was counting the times I said to my girls ‘go inside, mum's having a smoke'. I didn't want them to be around it."

It was about breaking the cycle: "Almost my entire whanau smokes," Heads said.

She has not had a cigarette for more than 12 weeks, along with 19 other Bluff residents who joined Auckland University's Wero quit smoking competition.

The competition calls for teams of 10 people to quit smoking together, and gives money for each team member who quits to an organisation of the team's choice.

Team members were required to check in at four, eight, and 12 weeks, when their breath was tested and carbon monoxide levels recorded to ensure they were making progress.

The two teams from Bluff raised the most money for the Southern region, with more than $2000 going to the Bluff Kindergarten and a further $2750 to the Bluff Swimming Pool.

Tuatapere, Gore and Queenstown also had teams that competed.

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- The Southland Times

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