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No ifs, no butts – time to QUIT!

1324325762 13 No ifs, no butts   time to QUIT!Greg Johnson is the CEO of Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Catch up each week with his take on what's happening in and around the Toowoomba and Darling Downs business communities

I have nothing against smokers, just smokes! the smell makes your stomach turn, the mess, the wasted time, the wasted money, the wasted lives.

OK fess up Greg? Yes, I did smoke, for far too long, 26 years in fact, from the late 60's when a youngster was considered "queer" if they didn't light up. Not too much before that doctors were advertising different brands, "smoke Brand X and improve your respiratory system." These messages were reassuring.

I gave up on 31 March 1995, in Noosa, not that I remember the date, not! Indeed that date is probably the most important date in my life. Like most smokers I gave up every Monday morning and resumed every Monday at lunchtime. but not this time – this time I beat it and I can assure bloggers that I am mightily proud of my achievement. if you think smoking is great, wait 'til you try not smoking – it's heaven!

Advertising in/on the Chronicle, television, radio, billboards, bus backs and by football and cricket team sponsors pleaded with us to take up the habit. the damn things tasted like burnt cow manure but the advertising and peer pressure was too much to resist.

40c a pack, including matches, was the price I paid upon leaving school – cheap! Mind you my take home weekly pay was around $5.

I coughed, I spluttered, my fingers went yellow, my skin white but still I persisted until I had them mastered.

You could smoke anywhere – in the office, in public transport, at the hospital, the pictures and you could even share an ashtray with your family GP during a consultation. They were the days.

but then something happened. Experts started to question the health value of these innocent little white burning things. Warnings started appearing on packets, puffers were forced outside to light up. Democracy was dead along with a substantial many citizens from prior generations.

Mobs of public servants, and some private employees, rushed outside to form large hives around entrances to buildings, disappearing into clouds of smelly smoke. Education improved, research improved, anti-campaigns became frightening, the world knew.

Nowadays you see the occasional poor old smoker standing outside; take in a deep breath before you pass them by. Cars don't have ashtrays anymore and more often than not drivers who smoke flick their burning butts to the roadside, evidenced by the large number of "grass fires" besides the roads. New state legislation will mean that they'll pay a hefty fine based simply on the fact that someone saw them.

It's tough being a smoker these days, it's no longer acceptable. but help is at hand. Talk to an ex-smoker like me, we know what you're going through. Better still call the Quitline on 13 QUIT (13 7848), your friends and family will love you for it.

Will you call the Quitline this festive period?

No ifs, no butts – time to QUIT!

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