My name is Karlie Burgess, I’m 26, turning 27 next month, and I’m from Hobart. I’m a strong Aboriginal woman. I believe that the whole Tasmanian Aboriginal community helped raise me. I grew up in a household where smoking wasn’t a part of my life. As my mum is the quit smoking worker for the Aboriginal Centre, we weren’t exposed to smoking.
My mum found out I was secretly smoking. It really upset her that she’d set a really good role model and she was upset at why we chose to smoke. I work for the Aboriginal Children’s Centre, and majority of the children’s parents were smoking in homes, in cars, and children were being exposed to smoking. Being an Aboriginal educator and a role model to the young Aboriginal children made me rethink my choices for smoking and gave me a real strength in giving up.
With discussion with the local GP at the Aboriginal Health Service, we put in a health plan so that they would contact me regularly, and they put me on to a quit smoking line, who would also contact me. I’ve been quit now for six months. I support anyone within the Aboriginal community at any age who is going to try and give up smoking and will share my story with them.