Our children are growing up in a society that has banned smoking almost everywhere. The hardened smoker is on the run and that includes me. I’ve quit the evil weed, and this time it’s for good.
Smoking was stylish and cool
When I used to come home from school I would have a coffee and cigarette in the garden with my Mum.
Yes, you read that right.
The black and white films we watched together on Saturday afternoons were epic, romantic and the glamorous leading ladies and men, all smoked.
Cigarette advertising was everywhere.
You could smoke on the bus, the tube, the train, in taxis, in shops and restaurants and pubs. I used to go to the Portland spa every Sunday and read the papers on a lounger while smoking.
Smoking is a powerful addiction
I continued to buy cigarette packets with warnings on, watch every heart rending tv ad about giving up smoking, ignore heartfelt pleas from my daughter to give up and puff on resolutely in the name of addiction.
I felt my identity was wrapped up in a cigarette packet. When I was pregnant and breastfeeding, I did not smoke and spent 18 months or so nicotine free. But I resented not smoking and felt I was missing out, that I wasn’t ‘me’ without a cigarette.
Every time I’ve tried to give up smoking, it’s usually been a friend who has said;
‘Put yourself out of your misery and have a cigarette – go on, what’s the point in feeling bad’
And I’ve caved or rather craved in. But I’ve felt bad.
When Addiction Wins
I bought the Allen Carr book which teaches the easy method of giving up smoking. Without even realising, I squirrelled the book away and only found it when I moved house a few years later.
I bought nicotine patches and again, without realising, hid them only to find them again months later and they were past their sell by date.
A couple of years ago I went to a hypnotist. While I was under the image of Kenny the hypnotist from Little Britain popped in to my head and I burst out laughing. I was smoking again within four hours.
Then I went to an acupuncturist. I had ball bearings taped into my ears. I started smoking again when they fell out.
And so it goes on. I tried the nicotine inhalator but I got funny looks. It bears a startling resemblance to a tampon applicator. Not a good look.
Nicotine gum gave me vicious hiccups.
Are you seeing the pattern of expensive excuses?
When It’s Time to Quit
Everyone who has successfully given up smoking describes the moment they knew they had to give up. I had mine thanks to a really bad cough in December. One morning as I stood in the kitchen looking out the window, I had to hold on to the counter top as I was coughing really hard and could not breathe. I was frightened. I knew this was how my Mother must have felt when she had lung cancer. It was a life changing moment.
How To Give Up?
There are many routes to choose and most of them costly. Everyone is after the smoker’s ‘packet’ and why not? A 20 a day smoker sets £2,300 notes on fire a year.
This time round I’ve used gum for a week or so and the inhalator to help through the first week or two. I’m completely free of anything now and have been for around four weeks and looking forward to remaining that way.
And remember free is the operative word here. You don’t have to spend anything on giving up smoking.
How To Find Support
The attitude of society towards smoking and smokers has changed tremendously and there is a lot of support available rather than judgment. I’ve had support everywhere I’ve turned including friends and family, I also had a quit buddy (you know who you are and thanks a million!). My daughter is very happy and proud her nagging has worked. People I work with have been really helpful. Everyone in my social networking sphere has sent me messages of support. And I have used the encouragement of the NHS very successfully and found the Smokers Quit Kit an absolute saviour. Even the Smoke Free advertising banners on my hotmail have helped.
I feel good!