I am a smoker and have been for nearly 11 years, but today I am joining in with Stoptober wholeheartedly and will give my all to quitting – not something I can say about previous attempts. My boyfriend and I tried to stop last October and lasted five days before treating ourselves to a cigarette on a night out. By the end of the night we had bought a pack of 10 and by the next morning we were smokers again.
This time it will be different. Rather than going cold turkey, I took the advice of a colleague and made an appointment with my local Lloydspharmacy smoking cessation service. This time I will be supported every step of the way.
I was motivated to quit this time largely by money (although I am obviously aware of the impact on my health). My boyfriend and I moved in together three months ago, and we immediately started to feel the pinch of splitting the bills. We calculated that together we spend around £350 a month on cigarettes, mostly through my 15-20 a day habit. It made me sick to think about. We didn’t have a holiday this year because we couldn’t afford it and now I know why.
Before my consultation I was really nervous but Rebecca, the pharmacy assistant, put me totally at ease. Together we filled in a questionnaire about my dependency on cigarettes and tested the volume of carbon monoxide in my lungs. For a non-smoker you would expect a reading of six or lower. Mine was 11.
We then chose the nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) that I felt would suit me best. To start with I will be using 25 milligram patches that last for 16 hours at a time. These will give me a constant supply of nicotine. I also chose an inhalator to give me an instant hit if I need it. Having something in my hand when I’m on a night out will really help.
Aside from prescribing the NRTs, Rebecca gave me some great lifestyle advice. For example, I didn’t know that cravings actually only last around five minutes. She also prepared me for the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. It was fascinating; I even stayed behind after my 30 minute appointment just to chat and ask questions.
Now I’ve had my consultation with Rebecca I’m excited about quitting. I’ve arranged to go back to see her once a week to test my carbon monoxide and catch up. She’s just down the road from work so I can pop in any time. Knowing that I will be seeing her regularly gives me a goal to work towards.
My boyfriend has said he will quit for Stoptober too but he is going cold turkey. I’m looking forward to a bit of healthy competition so bring it on!