Kelvin is a thirty-eight-year-old Asian man who grew up in Auckland. He is married and the father of 5 young children. Kelvin owns a restaurant in Auckland.


I started smoking when I was 18. It was just about being cool; being with a cool group. Every time I drank, I smoked.

I think I smoke more now than before. I used to only have 1 or 2 back then, now I have 4 a day. It’s just life, eh, you get older, you’ve got more responsibility. You have people you look out for, like kids and business – you’ve got bills. 

Quit attempts?

I had a 6-year gap. I only started about 4 years ago. I stopped 2 years before my first child was born 8 years ago. I got sent patches and gum from the Smokefree New Zealand people, or something like that. I think it was Quitline. The gum doesn’t work – tasted horrible. I did the patches but it gave me rashes, so I stopped all of that. The patches did help for a period, but it just got itchy a lot. I started having a bad reaction to it. And then I just went cold turkey ’cause I was having kids – didn’t wanna have a pregnant wife and be smelling like smoke.

I just thought to myself, sometimes it’s your own will overpowers anything if you wanna stop.  Nothing, no patches, no gum, can really make you stop – it’s yourself.

I stopped because of family, but now, since I have a business and five kids, I decided to start again. But, it’s not that much. I have 1 in the morning, 1 at lunch, 1 when I get home and then 1 at night – that’s 4. If I go out and get on the piss with the boys, it’s more. Alcohol and stress, that’s pretty much all that triggers it.

I’ll probably stop again sometime. I've been really active the last 6 months. I've been playing cricket, basketball, coaching the kids’ touch team, coaching the kids’ rugby team. I can tell I'm not fit like I was before. I have friends that play on the same team and they smoke galore and they’re fit as, and they all go to the gym as well.

Healthcare support to quit

They’re all the time, “Oh, have you tried the Quitline?” But my GP, she’s been with me for a while. She knows my situation, how many kids I have and a business, and another business. She said, “It’s up to you”, ’cause she knows I stopped by myself. She’s the one that referred me to Quitline.  

Tried vaping?

I tried doing the vape. I did that for 2 years. The flavour was good. But vaping was not good for me. I got sore ribs and sore muscles when I vaped, and cramps. It was weird. So, I started back smoking.

I heard vaping gives you popcorn lungs, whatever that is, like you get air in your lungs and you cough a lot. I’m not too sure, I haven’t read too much about it.  It’s quite new, so I wouldn’t go too hard out on it because they haven’t found, you know, medically, if it’s safe or not. It’s a man-made thing, eh, although even cigarettes are man-made.

All the guys I know vape and smoke. They still smoke, but they're smoking less and vaping more. If nothing, it’s a cheaper option. That’s why everybody vapes. I think, majorly, it’s because of the cost. Cigarettes are getting pretty expensive, eh. I probably shouldn’t say, but I can afford them. 


We closed for 6 weeks. I smoked less because I was with the kids all the time. We went out on bush walks, bike rides and what-not. It was good. But again, when I had a beer I’d have a couple of smokes. 

Bans on where people can smoke

I smoke outside at home – no-one else smokes, and there’s no smoking in the car. The ban on smoking in cars with children – that’s a good law I agree with. People who smoke while their kids are in there, that’s just horrible.  May as well just give them a cigarette, eh. 

Smokefree 2025 

All I know is that they're trying to not let people smoke. Like no smoking on beaches, in public or their own places. That’ll be impossible. It’d be too hard. A lot of people smoke. It’s like their medication sometimes. There’ll be more crime. Everybody will be robbing just for cigarettes. I think they do that already.

Already, when you go outside and have a smoke, people give you the evils all the time. Especially the older ones. They look at you and walk the other way or walk around you.

New Zealand should do what Japan does and have a smoking booth every 1k or something. In Japan, you can't just smoke anywhere, you’ve gotta smoke inside this booth, like in the airport. Just put cubicles everywhere. Whenever you wanna smoke, everyone goes in there, has their smoke, comes out – voila, no-one’s affected. 

Legalising cannabis

I think it should have been legalised, then there’d be less crime. The black market, a lot of the gangs, would have to find another kind of money somewhere else instead of from the weed. I have a friend from Holland. He said Holland’s not crime-free but very low in crime. Everyone probably smokes too much and they're too slow to do stuff. They're probably just too stoned to notice what's happening.



2 months later…

We’re just doing this lockdown thing. We’re still open ’cause we’ve got 2 doors. People come in one door and go out the other door. It’s better than closing.

I think I’ve cut down on smoking. No, it’s still 4 a day. It’s probably an hour after getting up that I’ll have my first smoke.

Last week I didn’t smoke at all. I had too many things on. I had basketball on Tuesday and Sunday as well as cricket on Sunday. I was vaping though. I’ve always had my vape but it’s just there.

I’m pretty good with my cigarettes – they last me a week. I didn’t buy any last week. I just had my vape ’cause I was too lazy to go and buy a pack, which is good.

I used to just vape a couple of years ago. I’ve stopped smoking a couple of times. Like, I stopped for 5 years when the baby was born. And then I started vaping. 


I always thought that vaping caused my ribs to be sore. But I’ve got some pills now, and playing sports stretches my ribs. So, I’m just growing extra muscles everywhere. That’s what the doctor said, I think. I’m trimming out due to all the sports I’m playing.

With vaping, there’s no stop. With a cigarette, when it burns you finish –  you’ve had your cigarette – but with vaping, it’s continuous. If I’m working 8 hours, I have one break of 15 minutes and I vape then. And then when I get home, that’s another one. Then at night, so I vape 3 times.

I get given flavours for free, so I vape whatever. I’ve got a mate who works for a vaping company and he drops off boxes of flavours. I’m pretty mild. I only do a 4 mg, which is the lowest. You can go up to 24. I’ve tried 24 and I can’t believe people smoke 24mg, it’s too strong. You’d only need 1 puff and you’re done for the day.

Vaping is obviously cheaper. It’s just you have to charge it.

All my mates smoke. They’re quite heavy smokers. Half of the time they’re stealing my cigarettes. Because I don’t even smoke that much I always have cigarettes on me. And they’re always asking, oh have you got a cigarette? Yeah, here you go.

I’ve bought all my mates a vape ’cause I got given heaps of free vapes. They didn’t like it. I think the main reason is it doesn’t give you the same effect. But I told them you can just up your intake, your milligrams.



4 months later…

I’ve been smoking and vaping. Mixing it up. I vape at work ’cause the smell. When I get home, I have about 3 ciggies and then vape. I have a ciggie in the morning, so 3, sometimes 4 a day. But when you go out, you know, that’s a different story. With a beer or the alcohol, always hand in hand with the ciggie, or the vape.

It was the same when I took the family up north. We got a caravan. Stick to the routine, I guess. I like the taste of the vaping, though. Plus, I was quite occupied – busy.

I use a brand which is like a tropical, but there's so many flavours, eh. I vape 6% nicotine and there’s one that goes up to 20, it’s so strong. I was on 8 and I've dropped to 6.

I've actually been pretty good, I've cut down quite a bit ’cause, back in the day, I used to smoke a packet in 2 days. Now a pack of ciggies lasts me nearly 2 weeks sometimes.

I'm actually getting into more fitness, doing basketball and coaching, so yeah, it’s balanced it all out. Life’s too short, you know.

Quit attempts

I did stop for a couple of years when my daughter was born. I stopped 3 years and then had my son, and then I opened the restaurant.

Apparently if you do re-start, you smoke double the first time. So, if you stopped and you start, you smoke twice as much as you did beforehand. I did, when I first started back, I did smoke quite a bit, and then I was just like, nah, it’s too much. Then I got a vape and I vaped for a year or so and slowly ciggies… now, I think I’m balancing it out pretty good. Some days I don’t smoke at all, I just have vape. It all depends on what I’m doing.

Smokefree 2025 proposed policies

Will we be the first country to be smokefree? In Japan, you can’t smoke while you walk. It’s against the law. They have booths, like, 600 metres away, just like a toilet. The weird thing is, you can smoke in the restaurant, the bar and the café – anywhere. I was in Japan in 2020 and we walked into a restaurant, and it was just smoke everywhere and I was like, man, I can’t eat like this, let’s eat outside. I tried to light 1 up while walking and all I heard was a whistle and beep, beep, beep, beep, you not smoke! I was like, “Oh, where do you smoke?” And he goes, “Look sign.” And there’s a sign. Like toilets, you’re looking for a sign where you smoke, it’s a booth where you go inside and you just smoke. Everyone was in there. You can smoke at the bar, clubs, restaurant, but you can’t smoke while walking and you can’t eat while you’re walking. You have to stop on the side to eat, yeah. New Zealand could do that.

What if flavours were restricted to tobacco, mint & menthol?

How come? If they stop the best of the flavours then everyone will go back on the ciggies, I guess. I’d probably try and quit. Ciggies are quite expensive, eh.

What if the government banned filters? 

Oh, that’s just stupid, eh, ’cause it’s just the filter. If they’re gonna ban, they’ve got to ban the whole thing, like tobacco. I’m sure tobacco can be smoked in different ways. I’ve seen guys put tobacco and marijuana together without a filter.

I’ve never rolled. I’ve seen guys who’ve done this for years – they’ve rolled the tobacco so much that all their fingertips are all yellow. When I was younger, I used to roll, but I had a machine. You just put it in and roll the thing a couple of times and it just pops up – it’s already rolled. 

Very low nicotine cigarettes

It should be good, like a low beer, eh? But 0.05mg/gm, that’s quite low, eh? They’d have to trial it out first ’cause sometimes it’s not the taste, it’s the ritual. The getting up, not doing anything, go outside, pull out a ciggie, have a feed. Doing some tele-dinner, having a drink and then you need a ciggie after. I don’t know if the nicotine plays a part or it’s just the routine. I think for me it might be alright, ’cause I don’t even finish my ciggie. I only smoke half and then I put it out, and then I go back out in maybe another hour and finish it off. I do that quite a bit.

But for my mates who are builders and landscapers who always have a cigarette in their mouth while they’re working - they smoke a pack a day easily. It might be a problem for them. It might be the same as coffee. Like when my partner wakes up, she needs her coffee. If she doesn’t have a coffee then it’s like, woah! I don’t know.

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