The SIUTS Ambassadors share their quit tips.


A lady ambassador Zoe Saunders - Kokotha Woman

I quit when I found out I was pregnant, for the better health of both of us. I feel a lot better now I’ve quit, much healthier, and I have a lot more energy.

My tip to other pregnant women smoking would be quit any way you can, you can get help from your health service to be better off for you and your baby. My home and car’s a smoke-free zone too. When smokers come over they smoke outside and there’s no smoking in the car.

A lady ambassador Renee Andrew Coulthard - Adnyamathanha, Kujani Woman

It wasn’t hard to quit as I was just a social smoker, but I stopped as soon as I found out I was pregnant. I’ve stopped smoking for each of my four pregnancies now.

If I smoked on continuous days my chest would get tight, asthma would kick in. And then there’s the money thing, there’s no way I could afford to smoke. I’d say to other pregnant women, try your hardest for bub’s sake, for your baby’s health in the long run. There’s always support through doctors and health services.

A lady ambassador Leanne Kerr - Yorta Yorta woman

I’ve quit cold turkey for each of my pregnancies. My body feels well. I can breathe a lot better, I’m more active with the children and there’s lots of money to be saved as well. For me it’s a switch – I know I need to stop smoking to have a healthy baby.

My advice to other Aboriginal women and girls is to be strong – don’t be pressured into having a cigarette, don’t think cigarettes will solve your problem. I think they’ll make it worse for you and your baby in the long run.

A lady ambassador Kristy Coleman - Kokotha Woman

I quit when I was 3 months pregnant and now I’ve got one month to go until I have my bub. I just had to block out any thoughts about smoking. I’ve kept myself busy with the kids and doing more exercise. I’ve tried to eat healthy foods and tried to stay away from people who smoked while I was attempting to quit. This pregnancy was different to the other two. I just wanted to be healthier and make sure my bub has the best start to a healthy life. Also my partner didn’t like the idea of me smoking while I was pregnant.

Giving up was hard in the beginning and being around people who smoke made it even harder. But when people asked me for a smoke I told them that I didn’t smoke anymore and that made me feel good – proud and strong. That sorta gave me more courage to stay quit. I feel great. I have more energy for my family. Exercise is easier. I feel really happy and proud that I have quit smoking and when I feel my baby kick it feels right that I got to give my bub the best start to life.

A lady ambassador Karisma Newchurch - Mirning/Narungga Woman

I’ve never smoked but some of my family and friends smoke and my partner smokes but never in the house or in the car with our five kids.

When I was about 17 I tried smoking a few times, just socially when I went out with friends.

I hated the smell and now that I’m pregnant the smell of cigarettes is even more disgusting!

My mum never smoked and I think that she was a good influence on me not to smoke.

Just say no if someone offers you a cigarette. If you get tempted, try and stay away from people who smoke while you are pregnant.

A lady ambassador Cindy Shen - Kokotha/mirning woman

I know friends who have gone cold turkey during pregnancy and they were fine, said it was the best thing they did. I’ve had other friends who had difficulty giving them up, so had to cut down because quitting completely was too hard. These friends did wish they could give it up because they knew the health risks to their unborn baby, but the addiction was too strong.

Don’t ignore the warning signs, cigarettes are bad for your health. Respect your body and your health. Get educated on the effects of smoking. Consider the costs of smoking – the cost to your health and your hip pocket.

A lady ambassador Leilamarie Stuart-Likouresis - Adnyamathanha, Arrabunna, Antakarinya woman

Smoking damages you in the long run. You get bad teeth, bad skin, bad breath and lung cancer. There’s no point in doing something that takes away your life.

My advice is to try and avoid hanging around with people who smoke. Don’t feel pressured to do something you don’t want to do. Put your baby first, think about the outcome for your baby when you’re smoking. It stops them from growing fully and if you quit you give them a fresh start for their life in this world.

A lady ambassador Josellyn Cleaver - Boandik, Thursday Island

I smoked during my three other pregnancies and it’s something I now regret. The hard part of quitting was the habit of having a cigarette in hand, being around people constantly smoking. But every day it got easier – temptation flew out the window.

I feel fantastic now. I have more energy, my skin’s glowing and I don’t smell like cigarettes. I’m a non-smoker.

I’d say to other women, focus on your baby, your baby’s more important. Stay away from other people that will tempt.