That’s the large amount of estimated savings from those who successfully completed Ergon’s quit smoking program with one employee and her partner using the savings toward buying a new car.

It’s one of several programs that underpin our health and wellbeing program to assist our people to self-manage their own health according to Health and Wellbeing Advisor Jackie Male.

“To perform at your best you have to be at your best. A health assessment conducted in 2013 highlighted that smoking was a health issue for many employees. Our workplace quit smoking program was introduced as a way to address a health issue and link employees with support, information and resources,” she said.

The program, similar to the Queensland Health program, has been an outstanding success.

“We’ve had 103 staff and their partners voluntarily go through the program with a 70% success rate since it was introduced in 2014.”

And it has been a winner for Ergon’s Works Planning Officer Melina Lamanna and her partner Barry who kicked their smoking habit last year.

“I hated the smell, the cost, how it made me feel sick. No one in our circle of friends or family smoked and I was embarrassed to smoke around them.”

She and Barry have spoken many times about quitting over the years, and even made a few attempts.

Then in last November, something just clicked. “I just put my cigarette out and said to myself, ‘enough’.” She joined Ergon’s Quit Smoking Program as soon as she got back to her desk.

She admitted her partner was sceptical at first. “But I stuck with it, and he signed up for the program two weeks after I did. We both used the free patches and gum, and Barry also found the phone calls from the quit program team quite helpful.”

Picture of Barry and Melina (left to right) with their new car

“Barry, along with my family and friends were all very supportive, and still are. Everyone’s very keen to see how much money I’ve saved and how much life I’ve regained. It’s all calculated on my Quit App. The reality check is pretty amazing.”

Melina said the improvement to her and Barry’s lives was amazing. “We sleep better, exercise more by taking our dogs down to the beach for a run, and eat better. And I can confirm that not everyone puts on weight, because it’s actually easier to get out and about.”

Her advice to people who are thinking about quitting? “Take a leap of faith and just do it !”

Oh, and they bought a new car with the money they’ve saved too.