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Stacey managed to quit smoking for more than 20 years but then fell back into the habit when life took a stressful turn. Now he is using vaping to help him through the transition back to non-smoker.
I was a smoker for 22 years, smoking 15-20 cigarettes a day.
Started smoking as a teenager and it was a big part of my life. Despite that, I managed to give up for 12 years. But then in 2017 I moved aboard, and it turned out to be a hugely stressful time. I started smoking again as a way of coping but all that happened was that I fell back into addiction.
"The first time I gave up cigarettes it was such a big achievement - going back to cigarettes felt like a massive disappointment in my life and for my health. When you are feeling really stressed, feeling like a failure, is hard to bear."
My mental and physical health started to deteriorate in a repeating cycle of addiction. But my life was so difficult at the time I had to accept the fact I would be a smoker again for a while, just try and get through this really difficult time. Cigarettes were incredibly cheap to buy where I was living, which didn’t help matters.
I started trying to sort out my life: I reduced my drinking, lost weight and started exercising more, yet was still smoking and I knew that was the next thing I needed to tackle, but there was no support available abroad which was disappointing.
When I eventually came home to Dorset for a fresh start, one of the major factors was my absolute desire to quit smoking. I registered with a local surgery and made an appointment to see the GP before I even got back from overseas.
Last time I gave up a doctor prescribed a course of Champix but this time I was put in touch with LiveWell Dorset - and got a text message straight after my appointment inviting me to get in touch – so I did!
"I spoke to LiveWell about all the options and was impressed with the understanding and patience I was shown. After a chat I decided to try vaping which was something I had never even thought of. The mechanical action of smoking something was part of my addiction, which was why vaping appealed to me."
I didn’t know anything about vaping at all, although I had obviously seen other people vape, I had to go onto You Tube to find out how to use it! I was stunned at how well it worked. Within an hour I had stubbed out my last cigarette and haven’t smoked since.
I am still under a fair bit of stress with a lot of plates spinning so just having that little bit of nicotine is helping me through now. I can focus on other areas of my life without worrying about cigarettes.
I read all the NHS posts about vaping, the benefits and the concerns. For me though, the important thing is that I feel so much better, and I have saved my body from the damage of all the other rubbish, the dangerous chemicals, that are in cigarettes. Cigarettes are like coffin nails.
"I feel back in control. My goal is to gradually reduce the nicotine and the vaping. I am taking things one stage at a time, and I am very happy to have reached this point. I will be moving on to lower strength vapes soon."
I still had 450 cigarettes in cartons that I had brought back with me from aboard. An installer came to put in broadband for me and I asked him if he was a smoker. When he said yes, I told him it was his lucky day and gave him all my cigarettes! He could not believe it. I should have told him about LiveWell instead!
The services LiveWell provides are amazing, everyone should know about them - it is fantastic to have that support network. Everyone who needs to make a healthy lifestyle change should give it a go. I mean, what have you got to lose?
"LiveWell clearly really cares about its clients and what’s more, the service is completely free. When you think of the money NHS pays out for smoking-related diseases – using the LiveWell service means you are helping the NHS, not just yourself."
I will not go back to smoking now. I am rid of it: the smoking smell, the coughing in the morning. I feel like I have finally nailed smoking for good. The work LiveWell does is to be commended, applauded and should be adopted more widely. The team should be proud of all they do to help the people of Dorset.
Be inspired by Stacey and choose from a range of free options, including Allen Carr Easyway, NRT patches and gum and a vape kit. We have 1-2-1 coaching plus the tools and tips to help you succeed.
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