Stopping smoking

Smiling woman at desk

Kirstin tells us how she stopped smoking

I began smoking regularly when I was about 16 years old, when I started college. It wasn’t something I enjoyed at first, but all my friends smoked so it was hard to be the odd one out – at the time there was also a ‘cool’ perception around the habit. I hid the fact that I smoked from my family until I left home to go to university. Once I was free to make my own choices, I began smoking on a daily basis - finishing a packet (20 cigarettes) a day. Back then, you could still smoke in restaurants and bars, so if I was out having a drink, I would find I smoked even more.

I did try to stop a few times over the years, mainly because of concern from housemates or partners who didn’t smoke, but also due to worries about my own health and the increasing cost of the habit. However, I found I’d only ever be able to stop for about six months at the most. As soon as I was upset about something, or stressed, I would start smoking again as a way to cope.

I finally managed to quit smoking after 16 years in October 2015. This time, I was determined to quit for my wedding but, afraid to go completely cold turkey, I turned to vaping as an alternative to smoking. However, I did find that I started to rely heavily on vaping, particularly as I worked from home a lot. I never smoked in my house or car, but I would vape all the time – it was so easy to do and much more acceptable in indoor public places too. It was another significant life event that brought about my decision to stop vaping – when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. It wasn’t easy, but I was determined not to vape during my pregnancy.

I have always exercised and find it so much easier now that I don’t smoke or vape. It doesn’t happen too much these days, but if I’m feeling stressed and start to think about smoking, I find going for a walk or taking some time for myself relaxes me instead and takes my mind off cigarettes.

I am proud to say that I now haven’t vaped for almost three years and have been a non-smoker for five years. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to do but definitely the most rewarding.

There is no one way to stop smoking and what works for one person might not work for you. If you’d like to stop smoking, read our 10 tips on how to break your smoking habit and stay on track.

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