Run of serious illness the catalyst for Lynwood mum to quit smoking


Tarryn Cook.
Tarryn Cook.

FIRST it was Bell’s palsy in 2014, then pleurisy in 2015, but it was not until she developed pneumonia in 2016 that Lynwood’s Tarryn Cook quit smoking.

It was the day after she came home from hospital and, still coughing, she lit a cigarette, looked up and saw her daughter watching her.

“My daughter had a look on her face that I can only describe as disgust; I don’t even think she knew it but when I saw her I realised how stupid I was,” Mrs Cook said.

Quitting wasn’t easy for Mrs Cook, who picked up the habit at 12 years old, and despite a brief period of quitting from 18-21 she had been smoking three 50g pouches of tobacco a week.

Her dependence on tobacco even led her to quitting a job with a smoke free site.

“I couldn’t smoke anywhere and I spent the whole time frustrated, and I just couldn’t handle the frustration,” she said.

After making the decision to quit, Mrs Cook cleansed her life of triggers.

“I moved into a new house, I don’t think I could have quit if I didn’t move. In my old home I would find myself walking towards where my cigarettes were kept,” she said.

Three months in, Mrs Cook said it was becoming easier to manage the rapid changes quitting had.

“In the beginning it was harder because I have diabetes and I had to learn to manage my blood sugar. I put on 10 kilos but I’m starting to get my body right again,” she said.

“The truth is I was not a healthy person at all, I would smoke instead of eat and I became sick with Bell’s palsy and pleurisy before I got pneumonia. I was warned but I didn’t listen.”

Mrs Cook said she hoped to encourage others to quit, and enrolled in a Quit campaign to urge smokers “if you can’t quit with me, don’t smoke around me”.

“If I could get a message through to get one person to quit I would be proud of myself,” she said.

The campaign will be run on TV, radio and will include a prominent online component.

Smokers will be encouraged to create and share their own #PleaseHelpMeQuit posts throughout the campaign.

Research shows:

– Two out of three long-term smokers will die from their cigarette addiction, i.e. of the 257 002 adults in WA who smoke, 171, 000 will die due to their smoking

– There are approximately 50 hospitalisations per day in WA due to tobacco smoking

– In WA alone, 1,600 lives are taken by tobacco use every year, i.e. four people per day