For Traralgon man Andrew Livingstone quitting smoking five years ago was a blessing in disguise.
“I smoked from about the age of 15 or 16 to when I was about 41, 42, so it was quite a while I guess,” he said.
“I got hooked at a young age with peer group pressure and then later in life realised for my health and mental health I needed to do something about it.”
After visiting hypnotists, applying patches and attempting to quit by going “cold turkey”, Mr Livingstone was able to “quit for good” through the assistance of a craving relief spray.
“But more so it was my mental attitude because I said I really needed to do something about this and take control of my life,” he said.
“When I stopped playing sport I certainly noticed the lack of fitness, my physical health started to go downhill but also my mental health.”
But through the help of his family and some close and supportive friends, Mr Livingstone, who is president of Traralgon Football Club, was able to quit smoking for good.
“I’m really proud of myself, physically I feel better and mentally I feel a lot better knowing that I’m going to be around a lot longer than perhaps if I continued to smoke,” he said.
Mr Livingstone welcomed the Smoke-Free Latrobe campaign on Monday and said it was important for people to get into the right mindset when giving up the smokes.
“You really need to have in mind that you want to give up first and foremost,” he said.
“I think it’s a great thing for the local region for this initiative to be in place considering Latrobe City has such a high rate of smoking.
“If people can jump on board … see their GP and go to Quitline, I think anything that can help people give up is a great thing.”
For more information about quitting smoking, phone Quitline on 13 78 48 or visit quit.org.au