“In a space of only a month, I saw my mother have her leg amputated and then pass away from lung cancer, it was awful,” Vicki said.
“Then my dad had a heart attack . . . but still I kept smoking. It was an arrogance I suppose. I made any excuse I could to justify it.”
A mother of two and grandmother to three, Vicki, 53 of Golden Grove and an Arabuna woman, suffered with breathing difficulties, especially while sleeping.
She said she used smoking to deal with stress, but eventually smoking made her more stressed – trying to find the money or appropriate time to smoke.
But at 50 years of age and three years after making a pledge with her dying mother to give up the smokes, Vicki says she decided to “live and not suffer the same awful death of her loved ones”.
“I remember seeing my mother suffer from emphysema. She would take a puff of her ventolin so she could breathe and then a minute later she would light up a cigarette,” she said.
“I never wanted to end up like my mother.”
Since giving up smoking three years ago, Vicki says she is fitter, healthier and happier.
“I can run around after my grandkids and love playing on the playground with them,” she said.
“I feel alive! And best of all my grandchildren will grow up without cigarettes around them.
“My choice was to break the smoking cycle for my family and the future nunga generation.
“My hope is that others will do the same.”