Successful business owner Emma was motivated to quit smoking, she just needed life to settle down first. Despite a series of personal challenges, Emma decided to take a leap of faith and commit to better health and better habits.
Smoking was as natural to me as eating and drinking. I started when I was 13 years old and now look back to realise what a young age that was to form a life-long habit. It was part of who I was. I always wanted to stop, but the cravings always got the better of me. I knew I could only quit when I was truly committed to stop.
I was amidst a severely stressful period in my life when I heard a fantastic presentation from Julia at LiveWell Dorset about the benefits of quitting. Julia strengthened my resolve. But I’d had a literal car crash, my rented house was being sold from under me and I was in the middle of an office move too. Even though deep down I knew I was ready to, I just couldn’t quit at that point. I kept looking ahead hoping the right time was coming, and I couldn’t wait to make that change.
Later that year, when life was more settled and I was ready to focus, I started to steadily reduce the number of cigarettes I smoked each day. A few months later, I’d reduced my habit so much that I knew I was ready to stop. It was then that I said to myself; as of Monday I will stop smoking cigarettes altogether, and instead, I started vaping as my next phase to completely quit.
The real challenge was giving up my evening cigarettes. Some people like wine or chocolate but for me, it was smoking. In addition to vaping, the restrictions of lockdown enabled me to get over the hurdle. For me, this is what makes new habits form and stick for good – a change in lifestyle! Lockdown allowed me to slow down my day, to start walking more; to stop eating on the hop, smoking between meetings, or whilst I was driving. I was always on the go and used smoking as my go-to ‘treat’.
During lockdown I felt happier and healthier - I was much more settled, and I could focus. The change in routine was long enough for me to form new, healthy habits.
Although I told my family I was quitting, I still had to do it for myself. I’m not sure anyone believed I could do it – their scepticism wasn’t helpful in the beginning, but it drove me on! I am tenacious like that! My family have been surprised and have noticed positive changes in me.
“I know for myself that it is over, and I will never go back to smoking, it is behind me now.”
I saw some friends just last week at a socially distanced 40th Birthday celebration. I’d had a couple of drinks and one of them said “Do you fancy a cigarette” At that moment I thought, why not! But the second I tried it, it was disgusting, I hated it. I knew then, this is it! I have quit, for good. I’d had so many positive messages from my friends, noticing the changes in me – my skin is glowing, and everyone says I look so well – it’s a huge motivator when people tell you how good you look!
Just after lockdown, I happened to speak to Julia again. We had a great conversation and spoke about the presentation she’d given and I mentioned I’d stopped smoking as a result. A few days later a card arrived in the post with a stop smoking wheel that illustrates all the good things that are happening to my body now I’ve stopped - I loved it! It has inspired me all over again.
I am now driven by having a healthier and more active lifestyle – it just feels right. Maybe it’s the Endorphins? I hate to imagine wasting all the hard work, not to mention wasting all that money! I’m on a roll of feeling good now, and when you feel good, it shows. I will never go back to it, I simply don’t want to smoke any more. I’m prepared for the temptations and cravings that will come and go, and of course, the stressful times that test me. But now I have other ways to cope!
Recognise your triggers and habits and find something alternative to do. Decide on a day, get support from LiveWell, and just go for it. Distract yourself when you feel a craving coming on and it will soon pass. Keep your eyes on the prize of what’s ahead; say goodbye to that smoky whiff that follows you around. Goodbye shame. Hello, freedom; time, energy and more money in your pocket. Trust yourself: you can do it!
We’re providing 8-10 weeks of NRT free of charge to help smokers quit smoking. Stopping smoking brings immediate health benefits particularly to the heart and lungs. Reduce your likelihood of added complications from coronavirus. Smokers who register for our smoking cessation support will be able to choose one of three different options available for smokers who would like support to quit smoking:
Our coaching sessions will help you to become smoke-free by supporting you to identify the things you think are preventing you from quitting and working out how you can overcome them. You will also be encouraged to set a quit date as part of your quit attempt.
Our smoking cessation coaches will work with you to work out the right strength of patch and gum for you and will run through how to use each product you are sent. 24-hour patches and gum are on offer for clients who require it to help them quit and will be sent directly to your home from us.
If you are new to LiveWell Dorset, welcome. We support adults in Dorset to take steps to a happier and healthier life. Our free advice and coaching is provided by your council.
Pick up the phone if there’s anything we can do to support you. You can call us on freephone 0800 840 1628. Register to receive our support. Once you’ve registered we'll call to discuss your stop-smoke plan.