Before joining Telford & Wrekin Stop Smoking Service’s 12-week programme, 36-year-old Steph’s health was in a bad way. She explains ‘I was smoking and drinking heavily just before I attended my first appointment. My alcohol and cigarette consumption was at an all time high. I had suffered a TIA (Transient Ischaemic Attack aka a ‘mini stroke’), I had very bad anxiety problems and my general levels of fitness were very low.’
At the time, Steph was smoking 30 cigarettes a day and had used the service on two separate occasions previously, both proving to be unsuccessful. ‘I tried the champix tablets 7 years ago and had very bad side effects from them. I also tried the patches, but experienced severe palpitations which seemed to make me want to smoke more. The main reason I wanted to quit this time around was the health issues, but also for my 9-year-old son who kept saying that he would smoke because I did.’
Steph had no apprehension this time around before joining. ‘I needed to do this!’ she claimed. ‘My opinion of the service hadn’t changed at all…I just wasn’t ready the previous two times. Deep down I have to admit that I didn’t really want to do it in the past, and if you go into this battle and you aren’t 100% committed to making the change then you will not quit.’ ‘In addition to this, my Mum had just quit successfully after using the service as well, so the timing was right…as it has to be.’
However, despite feeling this was the right time to quit, Steph still confesses to being very surprised that she has managed to stop smoking successfully and reach her 12 week goal. ‘I really struggled the previous couple of times but this time around I enjoyed coming to the appointments. It’s good to get the appointments down in the diary as it is something to work towards each week. Doing the carbon monoxide test and seeing your advisor and ticking off the smoke free weeks is a vital part of the process and very important to achieving success with your attempt! It was very helpful having Ollie as my advisor, as he offered excellent support and guidance throughout the 12 weeks. It’s like having a personal trainer who tailors the sessions to your own specific needs and requirements! I think it’s so vital to have the whole program personalised.’
Steph, who recently received her 12 week smoke free certificate after completing the course advises would-be-quitters- ‘I would definitely recommend the service if to anyone who is looking to make a quit attempt in the New Year. You have to be open-minded and go in with a ‘can do’ attitude. You have to get your mind set right and stick to the ‘not a puff rule’ religiously!’
‘I used to smoke when certain difficult or stressful situations would crop up, but you have to understand that giving in and smoking is never going to make situations better. This is a key belief that I have learned over my time in the service, and a mantra I will stick to.
‘Since successfully breaking the habit, there have been so many positives. My fitness is greatly improved and I now do a lot of running and have started kick boxing as well. I no longer get out of breath anymore! My skin has improved no end and my general health and well being has taken a huge upturn, but just as importantly- my son now sees me as a non-smoker, which is massive.’
If you would like free expert advice and help to stop smoking, call Telford and Wrekin’s Healthy Lifestyle Service on 01952 382 582 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For information and resources to help you quit on your own, click here.