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Cigarettes don’t define me

Liam’s had battles with mental health but he’s drastically reduced his smoking and has noticed the benefits on the footy field!

I was 14 years old when my cousin offered me my first cigarette. My head was spinning and I felt sick afterwards but I’m still smoking now that I’m 22. 

Since my first cigarette, I have had many other battles in life including being diagnosed with mental illness and spending time in a mental health facility called AMHRU. 

I smoke cigarettes in the morning to wake me up and to calm me down when I’m feeling stressed. 

Cigarettes don’t define me, and I have many other things that I love and enjoy in my life. These include family, friends, music, playing PlayStation and Xbox, and sports including footy and cricket. 

These things have encouraged me to think about the impacts of nicotine on my body and to reduce my smoking and seek support. 

I have always wanted to stop smoking. I just wasn’t sure how to go about it. 

By reducing my cigarettes, I feel fitter on the footy field and I have more motivation to take up new sports like cricket. In the last year I have not only improved my mental health but also my physical health. I am proud of what I have achieved.

At AMHRU, staff have supported me to reduce my smoking by being a good influence. They talked to me about the benefits of reducing my smoking, good ideas about distraction and are there to support me when I am stressed or feel like another smoke. 

Deciding to reduce my smoking has empowered me and I have reduced my smoking form 25 cigarettes a day to 10. 

By reducing my cigarettes, I feel fitter on the footy field and I have more motivation to take up new sports like cricket. In the last year I have not only improved my mental health but also my physical health. I am proud of what I have achieved. 

If I could give advice to other people living with mental illness who use cigarettes, I would tell them it’s not good for their health and to reduce their intake with the right supports around them like key workers and Quit.

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