This article has been archived and will not be updated. For the latest information about our programmes and initiatives, please refer to www.hpb.gov.sg or www.healthhub.sg.
The journey to quitting smoking is not easy. Mohd Yusof, an ex-smoker, knows this firsthand. He tried to quit many times, unsuccessfully. But with the right direction and support from his family and loved ones, this loving father overcame the challenges and is now proud to be smoke-free.
Quit champion of November 2005
36 years old, father of 3 children
I started smoking when I went to National Service (NS). The people around me were all smoking. I also felt at that time, like a real grown-up - I wanted to be "abang-abang" big brother! My family members were initially shocked to see me smoking but they accepted it. It was to them like I had grown up - going through the rite of passage because my father and brothers are all smokers.
I did not start smoking at school although my father and brothers were already smoking, partly because I had no money to buy cigarettes. I also felt that the influence was not as strong as in NS. I started off smoking about 5 sticks per day and over the years it had increased to 20 sticks per day. I remember at some period of my life when I was working on a very tight schedule while completing a project, I could easily smoke 30 - 40 sticks per day without realising it.
I thought I felt very relaxed when I smoked. I felt it helped me to think whenever I am stressed at work. However, looking back after I have quit smoking, that is not so! Without cigarettes, I am more relaxed and can actually think better.
I tried about 4-5 times to quit but each attempt lasted only about 2 weeks. I think I failed at that time because I did not have much support. I felt that I was on my own to ward off the influence. I had no direction and did not know where to get help. I gave up after the urges became too strong.
I then saw the newspaper report on the Muharram Challenge and decided to take up the Challenge. I had been waiting for an opportunity to quit. My children were also rejecting me from hugging them because of the smell of cigarettes! I am glad I joined the Challenge as it provided me with the support and direction that I needed to quit. I felt that the Challenge was an effective quit plan for me. I became very serious in my attempts. My family members and I had to prepare ourselves for the random smokerlyser tests and the quizzes. The phone quizzes also helped reinforce my willpower and increased my knowledge on smoking and its health risks.
It was tough to stop smoking. I gained 3-4 kg because I replaced urges for cigarettes with food. I was really enjoying the food, as somehow the food tasted better after I quit smoking. During the initial period, my weight increased from 71 kg to 75 kg. After 6 months of staying smoke-free, my weight reduced to 68 kg as I started jogging. I feel much healthier and more relaxed now.
Out of curiosity, I tried taking a puff. It tasted horrible and I wondered how I could become hooked in the past. I am very glad that I am smoke-free now.