With Stoptober in full swing and so much advice and support at your fingertips it has never been a better time to quit smoking. Although many of us will think about quitting some will still struggle to make a conscious effort to kick the habit. Sound familiar? You’re not alone… 2/3 of current smokers would like to stop smoking but only around 30-40% will make an attempt to quit1.
We asked Health-on-Line customer, Mrs T from Dorset, to share with us her relationship with smoking and how she overcame her addiction…
How long did you smoke for?
“In total 23 years although I stopped during both of my pregnancies. I remember telling myself I’d give up when I had been smoking for 10 years, and then it was 15 years, and then suddenly I was in my mid-30’s and had smoked for far more than half of my life. It was a shocking realisation that I had allowed this habit to escalate and after countless attempts to quit I was still smoking, worst still though, after being unable to admit I had started again following my last failed attempt to give up, I was now a grown-up secret smoker.”
How many cigarettes were you smoking a day?
“On average about 8 a day although this massively increased when I went out and was drinking.”
What were your reasons for quitting?
“My daughter had started to notice and I realised I didn’t want her to think it was ok.
As smoking had become less and less acceptable within society, I had also started to feel like I was a prisoner to smoking, that I was looking for opportunities to smoke and accommodating this habit had become a priority in my life. Cowering under a smoking shelter, hiding from the rain, I was no longer enjoying smoking and I felt trapped by my habit.
As a relatively new parent, I had also become aware of my own mortality and the realities of smoking related illnesses had begun to creep into my consciousness. People around me were suffering from cancer and I’d noticed too many wrinkles in the mirror. I was now on the brink of recognising all the side effects that had whispered in my subconscious for years.”
What worked for you in terms of quitting?
“I realised that I was an emotive smoker – this meant that whenever I tried to give up I found it emotionally traumatic. With this in mind, I had hidden behind the fact that I had a full time job and was a parent to two children under 5, so I couldn’t actually afford to have an emotional wobble! I had put off giving up but eventually decided I would have one last ditch attempt and contacted a hypnotherapist. I set a date in mind and focussed on believing completely that this was going to work for me.
Initially it was hard work, but 14 weeks in and I don’t think about smoking anymore. I haven’t craved a cigarette since my hypnotherapy session; I’ve just had to manage the withdrawal symptoms.
There are still moments when I think a cigarette would be nice, but I realise that it’s just in my mind and that I can’t have one without becoming a prisoner to nicotine again.”
What hasn’t worked for you in terms of quitting?
“Any nicotine replacement just made me feel sick and willpower alone was such a hard slog!
Both times that I found out I was pregnant I stopped instantly and during my pregnancy I never wanted to smoke. Protecting my children has been a key theme in my non-smoking journey.”
Have you noticed any benefits since you quit?
“Previously I had believed that smoking gave me confidence, it allowed me to hide behind something when I was feeling anxious or get away from the moment when feeling stressed. But in reality, I feel more confident since I stopped smoking; I don’t carry an anxiety about when I can have my next cigarette. I feel healthier and cleaner, I have a pot that is filling with cash. But for me, the main benefit is that I’m not lying to my children, they get to cuddle me close without the fug of smoke between us.”
Did you know that smoking is the primary cause of preventable illness and death? With smoking causing around 100,000 deaths a year in the UK2, knowing the effects smoking is having on your body and health could be the first steps on your journey to quitting… visit www.health-on-line.co.uk/smoking-lung/ to see how smoking can affect your health.