Quitters’ Update 2nd April 2014

rigaHi again everyone and welcome to our last Quitters’ Blog! Fitting perhaps as this week marks the 10th anniversary of the Smoking Ban in Ireland. As it’s our last update, I suppose a summary of my quitting experience is in order. First things first though – some self-praise!

Pictured this week you’ll see my beautiful non-smoker friends in Riga. You may remember my first purchase with my smoking savings was a trip to the Latvian Capital and we are just back. This was my last big milestone I think. Smokers, you’ll know what it’s like preparing to get on a plane for 2 and ½ hours! I was really dreading walking by all those smokers before you enter the airport.

Thankfully, it all went off without a hitch (relapse). Mind you, I did forget my Nicorette Inhaler and had trouble getting one in Riga so I opted for a temporary e-cigarette. While it did the job, I much prefer the inhaler as it’s far less rough on your throat and indeed, you know what you’re getting with something you buy in the pharmacy. In any event, whether it was due to my extra-sensitivity to smokers or true to fact, it seemed to me that smoking was far more popular and ‘in-your-face’ in Riga. There is a smoking ban but there seemed to be more people than you’d see here outside shops, restaurants and pubs sneaking in a quick cigarette. This did present the temptation to smoke again, I’ll be honest. But my fabulous friends were there for encouragement so I remain smoke-free.

So how would I summarise this journey? I made the decision to quit in January, mainly for health reasons and for my friends & family. Without doubt, the publicity that came with writing this blog made it possible; I don’t think I would have been successful without it. But it was also in the preparation. See below; this is a check-list for giving up smoking and I highly recommend you do the same before you quit.

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You really have to have a plan for the tempting situations you know you’ll find yourself in – the pub, a crisis in work, bad news… And you also need a method of distraction for the evening time – mine was knitting and this genuinely helped me keep my mind and my hands occupied. And DEFINITELY, pick yourself a new exercise. Putting on weight is commons so ensure you tackle it to avoid demotivation.

The most important aspect of the whole quitting thing is SUPPORT. I was very lucky to have the full support of all my colleagues and social network. None of my smoker pals smoke in front of me or offer me a cigarette. I continuously get praise for my efforts from those around me at home and in work (and I AM a glutton for this!). And comments from our blog readers also keep you going. Quitting with my boyfriend was a huge benefit so we could support each other. It was also incredibly motivating to read the updates from my fellow Bloggers as they continued to battle the cravings. Thanks so much to David, Alison, Ciara and Lyndsey for volunteering to share their journeys with you all. I really hope we helped either keep you motivated or gave you some encouragement to consider quitting.

nmaoSo there you have it, I’m a non-smoker. And have been since the 13th of January. Never thought I’d see the day! Last picture is me with a map of Malta… Yes, you guessed it! I only went and booked another holiday. And no, they’re not paying me too much here but this trip is also being paid for with the money I’ve saved from smoking. Myself and my lovely boyfriend are off in two weeks for some well-deserved non-smoking fun after all this good work quitting.

Thanks to everyone who read and shared this blog and here’s hoping my fellow bloggers and I will be back in touch with you next year, still smoke-free and still full of the joys of health!

Best of luck to any of you trying to quit. Check out http://www.lloydspharmacy.ie/SmokingControl, www.quit.ie or speak to your pharmacist if you need support.

All the best,

Naomi…

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Quitters’ Update Thursday: Week 5

Hi again everyone. Naomi back again. Did you miss us?! Well, we’ve decided that we’re going to take a little break from our Quitters’ Blog. We’ve asked a lot from our volunteers so far so we reckon they deserve some respite to enjoy life as non-smokers! We’re going to be back in a few weeks with some new faces we hope, as Lent sparks some new life into our efforts.
For me, I want to start concentrating on other ways to get healthy. While I’m of course delighted to be writing to you now as a non-smoker, I have put on a few pounds and the awful weather has made it unappealing to get outside and get fit. I can’t help but feel a little bit cheated, deflated and unmotivated when I think about having to work again at losing weight…

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However, having said that… this picture of me was taken exactly a year ago and it helps to look at it as I’m still over a stone lighter now than I was then.  So, I’m still so much better off than I was a year ago and I need to keep remembering this as I continue to strive to forget about cigarettes for good.

Keep focusing on the positives.  This is the time when complacency starts to creep in.  If you’ve been working on becoming a non-smoker, don’t give up now.  Think of how far you’ve come and how much better off you will be in so many ways a year from now.

For now, David and Lyndsey have been kind enough to give us their final updates.

 

David, Teacher, aged 33

Still Smoke-Free?  Yes!

dave‘Hi again everyone. So here I am at the end of the blog. Is it the end of my time off cigarettes? Now that people aren’t watching will it seem ok to revert back to smoking? No way! I am loving staying off cigarettes and all the benefits that have come with it.

For a start, whilst I didn’t count up exactly how much money I’ve saved, I’ve been able to put the odd tenner or twenty away. Rather than throwing away nine Euro every few two or three days I saved it in a box and am putting it towards a night or two away with my girlfriend. So there’s my financial reward immediately.

On the health side, I guess that it is more gradual. So far this winter I’ve not gotten any coughs, colds or sore-throats. Also I definitely notice how much easier it is to catch my breath when doing exercise.

The biggest test was always going to be during nights out and whilst I have folded once or twice during nights out I have also gotten through just as many without sparking up. This was always going to be a huge challenge and at least now I know I can do it. Also as I previously wrote, most of my social circle don’t smoke anymore so there are less bad influences out there.

Hopefully I’ll be able to keep it up. I’ve a feeling that I will this time.

Best of luck to all the other bloggers and readers, I hope they enjoy being a quitter as much as I do.

David.’

 

Lyndsey, Manager LloydsPharmacy Blanchardstown, Aged 27

Still Smoke-Free?  YES!!

lyn‘Hey everyone,

This is me with my kids, Ben and Zoey.

I don’t think I really ever thought of the impact of my kids seeing me smoking or known I smoked until we took this picture as Ben turned around and said “Mammy you really are Smoke Free now,  I’m very Proud of you”. It was a real ‘ahhh’ moment. (pure mammy’s boy haha!)

So I can’t believe I’m still off the smokes. This is officially the longest I’ve been off them by choice. (Whooo)  I’ve given them up before but was only during pregnancy.

I’m going to keep going strong with the patches and hopefully reduce the strength bit by bit.

Have to say I’ve really enjoyed the blog. Loved reading how everyone is getting on.

It’s mad to think the impact smokes had on our lives and what we’ve gone through to kick the habit.

It’s not been easy but I’m enjoying my Smoke-free life.

Talk to you all soon,

Lyndsey xxxx’

Thanks guys! We will check in with you in a few weeks to see how you’re getting on x

And thanks too to our other volunteers who were so kind to share their journeys with us.  We’ve been overwhelmed at the positive feedback we’ve been getting from our readers and all the support we’ve had from our colleagues.  It really has helped.    In fact I doubt very much I myself would have been this successful without this blog.  Having all eyes on me in the office every day meant I wouldn’t have gotten away with failing, even if I had wanted to!

So long for now.  We’ll be back soon with more stories and helpful advice (we hope!).  Remember that support is always available from your pharmacist.

Chat soon,

Naomi…