Katie, who has lived in Phuket for the last three and a half years, began smoking when she was 12 years old, and at her peak was smoking around 50 cigarettes per day.
Her inspiration to quit smoking came from a friend, but Katie said she’d never had any real motivation to quit before. Occasionally she had tried, but only managed to reduce her intake to around six cigarettes per day.
The low cost of cigarettes in Thailand only fuelled the fire, especially as patrons can smoke in most bars and restaurants in the country, unlike in Australia.
It’s now been more than six months and Katie is still going strong, thanks to her partner Glenn and her supportive network of friends, to whom she attributes her success so far.
Katie says her real motivation behind quitting was her love for the Phuket Hash House Harriers, a social fitness group famously known as a drinking club with a running problem.
“That was the main reason to get fitter. Every weekend Glenn and I were out ‘hashing’ and I was constantly out of breath walking the tracks.
“Now, I don’t have any breathing or sinus problems. I can even run now, that’s a pretty good feeling. I haven’t been able to run for 10 years, so it’s a real achievement.”
She’s even turned her personal goal into a way of raising money for the hash’s charity – the Baan Tharn Namchai orphanage in Takua Pa, in Phang Nga – by asking people to pledge money for her cause.
So far more than B35,000 has been pledged. Katie has issued the challenge to herself – if she smokes a cigarette she will match the pledges and all money will go to the orphanage.
She’s now encouraging other sports organisations in Phuket to encourage people to stop smoking and raise money in the process.
“You’re doing good for yourself and you’re doing good for other people.”
For more information on making a pledge, email firstname.lastname@example.org