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“One thing that really helped me was a text I had from one of my daughters, it was telling me how proud she was of me so when things got tough, I’d read it and it helped me to carry on quitting. It’s now eighteen months since I quit but I still read that text now and again.”
Martin talks about the highs and lows of giving up smoking, his tips for others who want to quit, why he never wants to go back to being a smoker and the help he got from ‘Smokefreelife’ Somerset:
My reasons for quitting:
I had a very bad cough and cold in early December 2019 and thought, it’s time to take the plunge. I have children and a grandson, and I want to be around for them for a long time yet. Also, money is a factor, with the cash I’ve saved I’ve been able to pay off a lot of my debt.
I used 24-hour patches and 2mg lozenges. I found both to work brilliantly. On top of that the support I had from ‘Smokefreelife’ Somerset (SFLS) was amazing, I don’t think I could have quit without them. A couple of times I felt like I might give in I posted to the group on Facebook, I soon had a message or two back with encouragement – that really helped. I also enjoyed the weekly meetings before Covid put a stop to them.
I thought I would find drinking alcohol without smoking impossible, but it really wasn’t too bad. After meals was when I’d enjoy a cigarette but again it wasn’t too bad. The most difficult times for me was when I was at work, I’m a delivery driver so I’d often find a few minutes between drops to have a smoke, that’s where the lozenges really helped.
My tips for quitting:
- Really make sure you’re ready to quit, commit 100%. Accept all the help and support you can get, it’s invaluable.
- Distractions work really well when the cravings hit, pick up a book, a magazine or play a game on your phone. Look out the window or go for a walk, I’d even just stand in my garden for a bit, all these things helped to distract me from the craving.
- If you’re out in a pub with friends who smoke, when they go out for a smoke, do not go with them just to be sociable, stay and look after the drinks, they won’t be gone long.
- One thing that really helped me was a text I had from one of my daughters, it was telling me how proud she was of me so when things got tough I’d read it and it helped me to carry on quitting. It’s now eighteen months since I quit but I still read that text now and again.
Reasons for staying smoke free:
Well, even with all the help from SFLS, quitting is still incredibly hard, and I don’t ever want to go through it again. I know my family and friends are proud of me and I won’t let them or myself down.
One final personal thing. When I stopped smoking, I started eating a lot, when my clothes got a bit tight, I thought I’d best do something about it. So, I started exercising, just going for walks at first, then longer and faster walks, soon with my son’s encouragement I downloaded the couch to 5k app, I didn’t think I could run at all, but I did. Now after more than thirty-five years as a smoker with no real exercise, I run 4 or 5k twice a week with walks or workouts most other days.
I’m 51 now and I am not going back to my old way of life, I enjoy the new one too much.
Need help giving up smoking?
Stoptober offers a range of free quitting tools including: the NHS Quit Smoking app, Facebook messenger bot, Stoptober Facebook online communities, daily emails and SMS, and an online Personal Quit Plan.
The Personal Quit Plan helps people find a combination of support that’s right for them, including expert support from local Stop Smoking Services and stop smoking aids.
Our local stop smoking service, Smokefreelife Somerset (SFLS), offers a free stop smoking service supporting Somerset residents to become smoke free.