Cricket star Shane Warne is believed to have given up his smoking habit to enter the South African jungle for Channel Ten’s new show I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!.
However, Warne’s valiant efforts have gone entirely unmentioned so far on the popular reality series, leading many to question whether he actually has ditched the cigarettes for good.
According to Daily Telegraph reporter Jonathon Moran, who is currently in South Africa reporting on the show, Warne smoked “40 or 50 ciggies a day” prior to entering the jungle.
However, due to the show’s strict ban on the comforts associated with modern life, and without access to nicotine patches, the 46-year-old has allegedly been forced to quit cold turkey.
But interestingly for the drama-fuelled series, references to Warne’s smoking habit have been noticeably absent despite the near-constant camera access and regular “campfire confession” sessions.
Entertainment reporter Pete Ford said it was unusual Ten hadn’t yet used Warne’s quitting journey as a storyline on the show.
Speaking on 3AW’s Breakfast with Ross and John show on Monday, Ford questioned whether some of the contestants had “a secret ciggie stash” to get them through.
A source who has previously worked with Warne told The New Daily that the cricketer “smokes a fair bit, especially when stressed”, adding that they weren’t sure how he would be coping without cigarettes.
But Warne’s chipper demeanour and moderate energy levels during some daunting “tucker trials” don’t exactly point to painful withdrawals.
According to Quit Victoria director Dr Sarah White, while going cold turkey is the most popular way to quit smoking, it leaves many people feeling irritable and depressed.
“Most people will have symptoms of nicotine withdrawal such as cravings and feeling cranky, emotional or depressed,” Dr White told The New Daily.
“There can also be physical manifestations, some people can get diarrhoea, tummy aches, cold symptoms – particularly coughing as your lungs start to clear of the gunk – dizziness and lightheadedness.”
Dr White said Warne’s decision to quit while in the jungle could be both a blessing and a curse.
“We usually counsel people not to try and quit smoking in a very stressful situation but if he’s in the jungle and doesn’t have the usual cues [to trigger his habit] it could actually work for him,” she said.
By quitting now, the legendary leg-spinner could also be saving himself lots of trouble down the line.
“People who quit by 45 dramatically reduce their risk of lung cancer and heart disease,” Dr White said.
If Warne has managed to maintain his smoking habit while in the South African jungle, it wouldn’t be the first time he’s faltered in his efforts to quit.
In 1999, the then Australian Test vice-captain was caught enjoying a cigarette despite having a $200,000 sponsorship deal with nicotine substitute manufacturer Nicorette.
“I had one cigarette in the West Indies and the Nicorette people know about that,” Warne told Fairfax at the time.
“I was very disappointed at having it and hopefully I can still try to kick the habit. It’s been a bloody lot harder than I thought.
“I’m going to still keep trying with my Nicorette four-milligram gum. And if I didn’t have that, I would be [in] real trouble because that definitely has helped and I’m going to keep trying and do my best.”
Representatives for Warne and Network Ten had not yet responded to a request for comment at the time of publishing.