Talia is a 38-year-old Samoan woman who lives in Auckland. She is married and has 5 children. Talia is a stay-at-home mother. In her spare time, she makes candles.

I started smoking at 13. My older siblings always had smokes on them – and my friends. I smoked with my friends mainly. Probably at 15 I started smoking regularly, maybe 5 to 10 a day. I was just being a rebel. I got pregnant at 15. I’ve had 4 more kids since then.

My Dad has no idea that I smoke and I’m 38. My Mum just found out 6 or 7 years ago. My parents are very anti-smokers. I’m the only one from my siblings that still smokes. Oh, my older sister, she just started up again.

I smoke probably like 15 minutes after I wake up, and smoke maybe 8 a day – roll-your-own tobacco. And socially. My partner smokes and when I go to my in-laws, they all smoke. Whereas most of our friends don’t. 

Quit attempts

When I got pregnant at 15, I stopped smoking, but then I started up again, I think when he was 1. I smoked through the next 3 pregnancies and only stopped for my last. That was about a year and a half ago. The longest I’ve lasted was 19 months.  

I quit just cold turkey. My brothers quit cold turkey and so did my sister. 

Healthcare support to stop smoking

I’ve never thought about using the nicotine patches or gum, but I’ve been asked if I wanted to try it. I’ve heard of Quitline but it’s never crossed my mind to call them. I actually knew someone that was part of the quit-smoking campaign and she was a heavy smoker! I thought that was hypocritical.

Tried vaping?

I have one. My children bought it for my birthday last month. I love it. I like the mango and the gold tobacco flavours. I have two sisters-in-law who are currently vapers that have come off smoking.

Tried black market tobacco?

My son told me about some Chinese smokes they sell at the bakery up the road. I don’t know if they’re illegal. Maybe they’re illegal ’cause they’re so cheap. 

Bans on where people can smoke…

The house is smoke-free and there’s no smoking in the car. I’m glad they passed the law banning smoking in cars when kids are in there. I’ve been wanting that for a long time. I saw it quite often in my area. We don’t smoke around the kids. Sorry, that’s a lie, the older 2 smoke. One’s left home. He’s a dad.

I have smoked in public, but I try not to. I think it’s rude to smoke around non-smokers. 

Taxing tobacco

The price of tobacco – it’s disgusting. I’ve definitely been thinking about it. I feel like I’ve cut down from, like, the amount I used to smoke. 

Smokefree 2025

It maybe could happen. I don’t know if I’ll stop smoking by then. If I have to stop, I will. I don’t know. What would make me stop smoking? Maybe if it becomes illegal. 

Legalising cannabis 

I voted yes. I don’t smoke, but my husband has tried it a few times. I know many cannabis smokers. I don’t have a problem with them smoking it. I’m not Government. I feel like cannabis is not the problem with society, it’s more alcohol.