Smoker quits habit in Stoptober effort
TWENTY-a-day smoker Helen Miah kicked her 30-year smoking habit during Stoptober last year and has now taken up cycling.
The mum-of-three, who works as leisure and culture commissioner at Swindon Council, is one of only three per cent of smokers who successfully quit cold turkey and gave up in last year’s national campaign in October.
Stoptober saw 160,000 people across the country quit for good.
The 47-year-old, from North Swindon, said: “I did Stoptober last year after my son spotted all the advertising campaigns and said I should give it a go.
“It seemed like the ideal extra kick. I went totally cold turkey and used the Stoptober Facebook group on my phone for support.
“It was amazing – whenever I got a craving, I went online and saw other people’s messages of encouragement and what they were going through.”
Helen decided to go cold turkey rather than using prescription medication or nicotine replacement therapy because she felt that it missed the point of quitting.
addiction and its causes, which helped her to understand her cravings.
She said. “I just thought that if I was going to do it I needed to give it up completely.
“I like the Stoptober campaign because it wasn’t like I was being pressured into it, and I could just hop online and see how everyone else was doing rather than having a friend constantly asking me about it.
“Accepting I was addicted was a big thing because it led to me learning exactly what that meant and finding ways to overcome it.
“Every time I got a craving I would go on the Facebook page and find out what other people were doing.”
Helen knew it was time to quit when she developed a cough that would leave her out of breath.
She said: “I started coughing at meetings and felt embarrassed, as people knew I was a smoker. I also remember going for a walk with an old school friend who was a non-smoker. She was fine, whereas I was panting for breath. That made me feel embarrassed too. So I suppose it was embarrassment which made me give up at long last.”
After quitting, Helen quickly noticed the positive changes to her health.
She said: “The embarrassing cough went away and I suddenly felt so much fitter.
“I started cycling to work, something which I would never even have contemplated as a smoker.”
Helen has also been able to save hundreds of pounds which has enabled her to treat herself and her children more regularly.
She said: “I was spending as much on cigarettes a month as I gave my son at university to live off, which felt just shocking.
“After the first month of stopping I treated my kids to a new Xbox game, so naturally they’re chuffed with my decision.
“Giving up has given me a new lease of life and I’d say to anyone thinking of stopping, just give it a try and be honest with yourself.
“There will be good and bad days at first, but in the long run it’s definitely worth sticking at it. I feel fitter, fresher and much happier with myself.”
Research shows that those who stop for 28 days are five times more likely to stop for good, and so far this year 244,939 across the country have signed up.
Smokers who register with the campaign receive a free stop-smoking pack, have access to a mobile phone app where they can keep track of their progress, and can hop online to social media sites Facebook and Twitter and join in the conversation with other quitters facing the challenge.
There is also plenty of support in Swindon for quitters, and for more information about the service or to book an appointment to make your first step towards becoming smoke free, visit www.seqol.org/community-health-services/stop-smoking, email email@example.com or call or text 01793 465513 or 0800 3892229 or 07881 281797.
For details on Stotober, visit stoptober.smokefree.nhs.uk.
- See Elizabeth Mackley’s Stoptober column in Family.
Comments are closed on this article.