Vol. IV: Stop Smoking Stories

It was the strangest thing…when I went outside that evening I felt so positive about my new life ahead. I felt as if I could take on the world. Liz. K
imageI started smoking when I was fourteen for no other reason than I had a pack of cigarettes in my pocket from someone else and thought why not? I decided to take up smoking full time when I was fifteen, mainly because I could finally fit-in with certain people and that it was simply something to do when I was bored. I was also allowed to smoke at home, which in hindsight, was not what my parents should have allowed me to do. The years passed on and without noticing it, I became more and more addicted to the feeling that I needed to have a cigarette. I had grown up to view the act of smoking as my friend and my crutch. It was my foolproof way to relax and helped to keep me calm and under control. Smoking was the one thing that had always been there for me and for the most part, I couldn’t imagine my life without it. 
It wasn’t until I developed a smokers cough that I knew I had to seriously try to quit which made me incredibly sad. I never thought that I was addicted until I reached the point where I tried to give up. Because my nicotine intake would go up and down depending on what I was doing (some days I would smoke forty cigarettes and others only two) I never thought I was truly addicted and that I could quit at anytime. But soon I reached my early thirties and I had tried everything. Hypnosis, NRT, acupuncture, medication, cold turkey…you name it, I tried it. After countless attempts to quit, I pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I would never give up and I started to smoke roll-ups thinking that they were better for me. 
When I was thirty-five, I fell pregnant and knew that I really needed to quit smoking for good so I attended a cessation clinic. The pressure that was piled upon me was immense and being newly pregnant I became extremely stressed. The pregnancy ended in miscarriage. I didn’t blame smoking but I blamed the stress of trying to stop smoking. I became pregnant again and was advised to cut down and to not try to quit again. The second time I had a full-term, pregnancy I gave birth to a gorgeous baby girl. Five years on at the age of forty, I decided that it was time to quit as I no longer wanted to be a smoker. I had become even more aware of my habit around my daughter and remember how she used to look at me though the backdoor window as I would stand in the cold rain smoking. 
I attended a health training session through work in December 2014 with a colleague and in a room of over thirty people, I was the only person who owned up to being a smoker. It was only during break-time when I went outside for a cigarette that I saw another five people from the training session standing together smoking! It was at that point that I thought how crazy it was that people can’t even own up to being smokers. They feel ashamed and have to hide it whereas I had never felt ashamed as a smoker. 
During the training session it was asked: ‘If you could change one thing about yourself in order to be more healthy, what would it be?’. I wrote down my answer: ‘To not smoke anymore’. My colleague that I was with had spotted this and on Christmas Day I opened a present from her which turned out to be Allen Carr’s The Easy Way to Stop Smoking. She had written a note on the inside of the cover which read: ‘It wouldn’t hurt to try!’. And so, I began reading. 
I had hoped that upon reading the last page there would be some magic involved and that I would miraculously become a non-smoker. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen for me and although I was disheartened, I thought about how I could continue this attempt rather than giving up all hope. I went to the Easyway website and began emailing John Dicey for support. Whilst on the website, I came across the Be Smoke Free in 4 Days campaign. I signed up and started watching the videos. The videos along with John’s advice and becoming part of the Allen Carr Facebook community further reinforced everything that I had read in the book and I felt that something was happening to me. On the 23rd January 2015 at 4pm, the fourth and final day of the campaign, I sat outside in the cold and smoked my last cigarette. I even took photos of it. I then proceeded to throw every packet of tobacco I had away, something that I had never done before. It was the strangest thing…when I went outside that evening I felt so positive about my new life ahead. I felt as if I could take on the world. I realised that I wasn’t losing this long-term friend or my ability to to relax, in fact, I was gaining loads of other things! I carried on emailing John for support after I quit and it really helped. 
I cannot express just how much being smoke-free has changed my life for the better. My cough has disappeared and I no longer get as breathless as I used to. After trying out every method under the sun, it was Allen Carr’s book coupled with support of the Easyway community that helped my achieve my goal. I still can’t quite believe I do not smoke and I want everyone to know that I am a non-smoker! My husband was so supportive throughout my journey and my daughter is so proud of me – she no longer has to look at her mother smoking through the window. 
Liz has been an Easyway non-smoker for 17 months.