When everyone told me I would never stop smoking, I set out on a mission to prove them all wrong. And I succeeded.
I had been smoking for a long time. I started when I was just 13 because a friend gave me a cigarette. It had a funny taste but I kept smoking anyway. It was normal back then, everyone smoked. People would smoke on the bus, on the train, on the plane and even in supermarkets.
I could buy a single smoke and a match for two pence from the local dairy. In England, the legal age to buy cigarettes was 16 and by the age of 16 I was smoking a packet of 20’s a day.
I was working so I could afford them. Money was never a problem. But, really, when you smoke you can always find money for cigarettes.
I don’t know why I continued the habit. I knew though that I would get a break at work if I smoked, if I didn’t smoke I wouldn’t! I actually enjoyed the habit. I enjoyed going to the pub after work and joining the crowd of people smoking.
I hadn’t realised it but it had become ingrained in my lifestyle, and I would often use it as a reward – if I just finish this I can have a cigarette.
I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve tried to stop. I started trying at 20-years-old but nothing ever worked. I would cut down, then stop, then start again. I would use patches and gum, and sometimes I would just stop cold turkey. It was like a revolving wheel. My longest attempt was 6 months but something would always lead me back to it.
I knew I needed to stop for more reason than one. I was working extra to pay for my cigarettes, I was worried for my health, and I was constantly nagged to stop by my parents.
Then in December I got a text message from my doctor advising of the Southern Stop Smoking Service, and then Debbie Swain-Rewi contacted me. It felt like the perfect timing for me.
I had a meeting with her at the Community Centre and that day I went home, smoked the rest of my pack of cigarettes and haven’t touched one since.
Debbie showed me how to use the patches properly and instead of a cigarette, that day, I had a cup of tea and a chocolate bar instead.
I continue to wake at 2am every morning, which is when I’d usually go outside for a cigarette, but I’ve changed my habits and now I’ll sit down and turn the TV on.
Everyone told me there’s no way I would do it. I would never stop smoking. Well, I proved them all wrong and so far I have saved $30 a day! The money that I’ve saved has been spent on paint for my house.
I haven’t even felt like a smoke! I enjoy having more time now, I don’t smell, I can walk further and my lung capacity is greater, and I’m saving lots of money!
I don’t miss smoking at all. I’m never going to go back now, and if I even thought about it I’d just give Debbie a call!