Quitters’ Update 19th March 2014

hatIt’s the 3rd week of Lent!  And welcome back to our Smoking Control Quitters’ Blog.  And guess what happened by accident?!  I thought it was more than enough for me to have quit smoking and so didn’t give up anything else for Lent.  And I’ve just realised I haven’t actually eaten any chocolate (I’m almost sure anyway) since Ash Wednesday.  So go me!  Well one my way to optimal health and well-being.

Today’s picture is me with a hat.  Sadly, it’s not my hat as I’m pretty fond of it now.

(Okay, where’s she going with this?!)

You may remember that I decided to take up knitting in order to keep my hands busy and my mind distracted in an effort to break some of my evening-time smoking habits.  Well, behold my first ever knitted thing that’s not a scarf!  It’s a present for my boyfriend though I may re-think that as I’m pretty attached…

Knitting really has been a great help.  You have to think about it while you’re doing it and you need both hands. Previous evening-time activities were easily done while smoking; watching TV, surfing the internet, chatting on the phone.  I’m addicted now and am taking orders from friends and family.

My point here is (apart from promoting my new craft business!) that you really do need to think of something else to do.  It sounds obvious but it’s so important.    Break the habits and change your routine so that the activities and times you associate with smoking become associated with something else.

I’m still in the warm a fuzzy self-righteous glow of being a new non-smoker so it may be hard to take advice from me.  So this week, I’ve asked one of my colleagues, a long-time non-smoker, to tell us a little about how she feels about things now…

Noeleen, LloydsPharmacy, The Mill S.C. Clondalkin

 

Quit Date: 3 years ago

Still Smoke-Free: YES!

20140106_141627Hi guys,

Anyone out there trying to give up the cigarettes, hang in there, believe me it will get better. I was there myself and it will be worth it.  The ‘freedom’, as I called it at the time, was like I was released from something.

The best advice I would give is to do something with the money that you would normally spend on cigarettes, that is if you could afford to smoke in the first place. I got myself a loan and I knew then that the money was spoken for. I got my first car and paid back the loan within a year, I was so proud of that little Micra.

Apart from my car and back to the more serious side, my health was my main reason for giving them up. I got bronchitis every year and I have never had it since I gave them up. All the other little things like tasting my food again, my house smelling good and having loads of energy were a bonus. So if you’re trying to kick the habit at the moment, keep going and set yourself a goal, maybe a nice holiday or a spa weekend when you have reached your 3 or 6 month goal.

 Noeleen’

 

Thank you Noeleen!

 

I love Noeleen’s tactic of getting that loan.  It’s not unusual for a smoker to spend €300 in a month on cigarettes.  That’s the repayment on the loan for a very nice car.  But health is obviously the more important aspect.  Giving up smoking is the single most significant improvement you can make to your health.  And as I hope you can see from our blog, it’s not impossible; it’s not always easy of course but not impossible…

We’ll be back next week with an update from one of our favourite bloggers and amazing pharmacy managers, Lyndsey, to see how she’s been getting on since we heard from her last.

Chat soon,

Naomi…

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Quitters’ Update Tuesday: Week 3

Hi again everyone.  Naomi here with our first update of Week 3!  I can’t tell you how weird it feels to be typing as a non-smoker for 3 whole weeks.  This blog has been a huge help I must say.  And having all eyes in our office on me is handy too!

alan cBefore we hear how Alison has been getting on since last week, I wanted to talk about an amazing training session I attended with 50 of my colleagues yesterday. Dr Alan Curley PhD is an expert in addiction services and smoking cessation from Scotland.

Alan set up the NHS Stop Smoking Service in Scotland many years ago and has been working with sufferers of all types of addiction throughout his career.  I was delighted to be able to attend his session on Motivational Influencing and Stop Smoking with my pharmacy colleagues.

We heard so many interesting and useful stories and strategies in motivation, addiction types, the best ways to support our patients and the various types of NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy) products that work best for different types of smoker. Alan also showed us so many statistics about success rates in breaking nicotine addiction based on his work and research over the years.  One point in particular really stuck with me.

Alan spoke about his experience with using NRT products versus cold turkey, telling us that people are TWICE as likely to be successful by using NRT to help them quit.  AND, if you combine that with 1-2-1 support (such as what you would get by using our Smoking Control Service), they become FOUR times more likely to be successful.  Why wouldn’t you make it easier on yourself looking at those figures?  Check out one if the slides he showed us below.  With NRT, 1-2-1 coaching AND group coaching, patients have a 71% chance of quitting successfully.

Check out http://www.quit.ie/en/inner/effective_support_methods#group for more details on what group support is available in your area.

slide

It really was a very enjoyable and thoroughly interesting lecture.  We best check in on Alison!

Alison, Manager LloydsPharmacy Raheny, Aged 31

Still Smoke-free?  Yes!

‘Hi again everyone!

So…

alison cropWell I’m still off them… it’s getting a lot easier. I’m feeling very optimistic so decided to buy four weeks supply of patches! I was looking at how much I would have spent on cigarettes if I had still been smoking and its almost 150 euro! And that’s only two weeks supply!

I haven’t noticed myself eating more but I did weight myself and I’ve put on a few pounds but nothing major….my lunchtime walks must be helping…or not!!

I have a very annoying cough at the moment as well which weirdly enough if I was smoking I know I wouldn’t have! Also the patches can interfere with sleeping at night so I do look a bit rough in the mornings (my partner is happy to put up with it because apparently I don’t smell like an ashtray anymore!!!) but I’m afraid to take the patch off at bedtime because it’s worked so far!!

Everyone is so supportive and my family keep telling me how proud they are of me and that’s a huge help!

Only eight more weeks of patches and then I’ll be smoke and nicotine free forever!!

Hope everyone else is still doing great!

Alison.

Well done and thanks Alison!

Not a bad way to start the week, eh?  Personally, I am not as lucky as Alison and am finding myself very, very hungry!  Lots of water and chewing gum is helping me manage that.

Please, please keep the feedback coming folks; it’s so motivating.  Thanks to everyone who is sharing stories with us too.  We’re back on Thursday with an update from David.  See you soon J

Naomi…

Quitters’ Update Saturday: Week 2

nn Happy weekend everyone! It’s Naomi back again and welcome to our second weekend of our Smoking Control Blog. This is another picture of me posing in our office, this time with a map of Riga, Latvia, this year’s European Capital of Culture.

(Can you see where I’m going with this?!)

You see, I’ve just booked a trip to Riga with my girlfriends. And guess where I got the money?

(You get me now, right?!)

This 3 night, 4 day trip (flights & accommodation) cost me LESS (yes LESS) than a month’s worth of cigarettes!! I know the health benefits of quitting are so incredibly important but I really am stupidly excited and proud that I’ve essentially bagged myself a free holiday!

Looking at the financial aspect of smoking can be a very useful way to get, or keep, yourself motivated to free yourself from the habit. Check out the table below to see the potential savings you could bring about by quitting based on how much you currently smoke (based on a pack price of €9.40 for 20).

How much could you save each year? What could you buy with it???tb

I hope this helps you.  It really has given me such a boost…

Okay, time to check in and see how Ciara and Lyndsey have been getting on.

Ciara, Sales Assistant LloydsPharmacy Raheny, Aged 25

Still Smoke-free?  Yes… ish!

ciaraHi again everyone!

I’m off the smokes nearly two weeks.  I gave them up 11th January. As I wrote in my first blog I’m still finding it very hard to stay off them but the nicotine inhaler has been a great help for when I’m really craving one!!!!!

I’m still doing more and more healthy things, such eating right foods and going on walks every day – this is really helping.

Last Saturday night I was out for dinner with friends and I regret to say the urge was to great and I did have 1 smoke :((( After it, I honestly felt sick so I am totally determined not to have another one. I haven’t had one since.

I find my sense of taste and smell is far greater since I’m off the smokes; I’m actually enjoying tasting my food. My friends and family have been so supportive. My mum is also off them so we’re helping each other out as best we can.

I’m off on holidays so I won’t be checking in next week but I’ll make sure to let you know how I get on.  Wish me luck though!!  I’m taking this one day at a time 🙂 ‘

Lyndsey, Manager LloydsPharmacy Blanchardstown, Aged 27

Still Smoke-Free?  YES!!

lynHi again everyone,

This is a picture of me with my family, the MAIN reason for quitting smoking.

The hubby Karl, my son Ben (9) and my daughter Zoey (3).

So I’m still going strong, I’m still a quitter 🙂

I’m 10 days smoke-free and it’s getting a ‘little’ (and I mean a ‘little’) easier.

As you are aware, I am using the Nicorette Patches. They do work for me but for the first couple of days they made my arm feel a bit funny!!!!  It wasn’t painful just an unusual sensation; maybe it was my system getting use to the nicotine going into a different part of the body.  They’ve given me the confidence to venture out on my own and I’ve tried some days without them. The minute I feel that craving coming on I’m straight away reaching for my…………………. patches.

This week has been a bit of a mixture. It’s been Fantastic tasting my food again, like REALLY tasting food. Not to mention saving money for our family holiday.  But with the good comes the bad; feels like I’m going to cough my lungs up; that’s for me the killer part as it can get quite sore and I wanna eat everything in sight 😦

On another plus side, it feels FAN-FAIRY-TASTIC that this is the longest I’ve been able to stay smoke free in years. I’m so proud!  A lot of people are saying ‘well done you’ve great will power’, but I honestly think it’s more stubbornness with me than will power….. I hate to fail!

Blog to you soon1

Smoke Free,

Lyndsey 🙂

Thanks Ciara & Lyndsey!!

Wow, what a way to start the weekend!  I particularly love hearing about Lyndsey’s determination to see this through for her family.  I’m aware how cheesy I may be sounding but being brought along on these journeys is adding to the other positive effects that quitting smoking has been having on me – it’s just so motivating.  We’re having the most amazing feedback from our readers and from our colleagues here in the office.  Thanks so much to all the bloggers and all the people spurring us on.

Have a smoke-free weekend everyone.  We know we will 😉

Naomi

Quitters’ Update Tuesday: Week 2

Hi everyone.  Naomi back again.  We’re one week into our Quitters’ Blog series and it feels so good to have the first weekend done with!  I for one found it surprisingly stress-free.  My house-mate and fellow quitter were just talking about how our cravings are getting much easier to deal with.  And already, our sense of smell and taste has much improved.  This really makes me more determined to see this through!  Like I promised, I did bring my Nicorette Inhaler to the pub over the weekend and I did use it in the Smoking Garden.  And you know, it worked wonders!

optransBefore we hear Alison’s update, I would be remiss not to mention Operation Transformation, airing tonight on RTE 1 at 8.30pm.  I’ve been following leader Sarah’s story, which tonight will be of particular interest to us quitters as she focuses on giving up smoking.  Make sure you tune in!

Also, in conjunction with the show, this coming Thursday 23rd January is National Blood Pressure Awareness Day.  Free Blood Pressure testing will be taking place at selected locations throughout the country.  But did you know, LloydsPharmacy offers free Blood Pressure Measuring all year round at each of our branches?  Smoking is one of the main risk factors in developing Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) and High Blood Pressure (Hypertension).  Why not measure your Blood Pressure in conjunction with your quitting plan?  You should see vast improvements as your body returns to normal.

Let’s check in with Alison on how her first week went:

Alison, Manager LloydsPharmacy Raheny, Age 31

Still Smoke-Free?  Yes! (apart from one tiny hiccup!)

Hi again everyone!

alison cropWell I stopped smoking on Jan 13th and things had been going really well.  I will be honest though; I did have one tiny little cigarette and loved every bit of it but I felt bloody awful after having it…  it was guilt really!

I’ve been using Niquitin CQ 21mg 24hr patches and up until my tiny little cigarette, I really was finding them great!

I do feel a great deal better now that I’m back on the wagon… much more energy. I’m going for a walk during my lunch every day and I’m eating much better than I used to.  If you asked anyone that knows me they will tell you how weird it is to hear the words ‘exercise’, ‘healthy-eating’ and ‘Alison’ altogether!!

I feel so rested in the morning when I wake up. It’s also great to go to bed at night and not have that horrible feeling that you don’t have enough cigarettes for the next morning. It’s definitely getting easier…I see it more now of a habit than an addiction which makes it easier to deal with!! The reaction from family, friends and colleagues has been great and they are offering so much support. I know I will be mailing you next and I will not have had any cigarettes!!

Wish me luck!

Alison.

Well done Alison!!

I love this update from Alison.  She may have cracked and had one sneaky cigarette, and indeed she enjoyed it!  But she got back on the horse and feels better for it.  This is important for us all to remember.  It might take more than one attempt to quit but you can become a non-smoker if you keep trying!

We’re back on Thursday with updates from our other bloggers.  Keep the comments coming and please share your own stories with us!