My name is Richard Hogan and I started smoking when I was about 13, gave up at 22, but started again two years later.
I am part of a band and I noticed that smoking, especially in the 90s, went hand-in-hand in the music industry. I’d stopped smoking after completing a cessation programme through my doctor – money and health were my motivators – but the social scene pushed me back into it.
I don’t know why I even entertained the idea of starting again. It was a huge mistake and I wish I’d never started.
I smoked about 13 cigarettes a day for another 10-15 years.
I smoked when I was stressed, or anxious, or nervous ahead of a gig. I smoked even more when I had a coffee, when I was driving, and when I was drinking alcohol.
I’ve been trying to stop for about six years. I’ve been on and off patches, and on and off cigarettes. I had the need and the want to quit but I didn’t have the support and I started to get fed up with trying.
At the perfect time my doctor referred me to the Southern Stop Smoking Service and I started going to group clinics at Nga Kete about six months ago.
I found it supportive, and it was good to talk to the coach and others who were in the same situation.
I used patches to stop smoking and I’ve been smoke free now for six months.
As well as the obvious financial benefits, I have really noticed huge changes in my skin quality and I've enjoyed having a sense of smell and taste again.