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Using Champix to Quit!

Watch an interview with an ex-smoker as she talks about her quit attempt and how she feels living without cigarettes.

This ex-smoker from High Wycombe began smoking at 16 years old, under pressure from her peers and to relieve the boredom of her job.  Nearly 40 years later she successfully quit by seeing a ‘Bucks Smokefree’ adviser every week and taking the prescribed medication ‘Champix’.

 

Kicking Cigarettes Was Just Next on the Hit-list

Read how a recovering alcoholic and cannabis user tackled his smoking addiction with a vape and addiction counselling support, proving that it is possible to give up if you are willing and ready!

To maintain anonymity, Sam is an alias.

Sam is aged 42, an ex-alcoholic and marijuana addict. He has smoked for 30 years, since the age of 12. Sam has now been sober for 18 months, he quit drinking the day before he started a recovery program for addictions in High Wycombe and has now achieved 6 months free from smoking marijuana.

 

Asked why Sam wanted to quit smoking, he stated “Smoking is just another thing on the ‘hit-list’”. He knew he had to be ready before making a quit attempt, as he failed to give up alcohol before he was ‘ready’. “You have to be in a certain frame of mind to be able to summon the will-power and commitment to tackling addictions”. Sam identified cigarettes as a gateway drug into other bad substances: “It all starts with smoking. Most people who have addictions, normally will tell you they smoke and that it can lead one thing onto the next”.

 

Sam has been to prison for a short-term sentence, it made him think that he needed to tackle his addictions, which got him there in the first place. Sam’s biggest fears were returning to prison and having COPD. “Regarding prison, it was a very rough place and I just don’t want to end up being unable to move around and having to have tubes in me for the rest of my life. That terrifies me”.

 

After deciding that he was going to make a quit attempt, Sam opted for vaping as his aide. Initially, he was cautious about vaping, but went ahead with it as his form of nicotine replacement. Rather than a substitute for smoking, Sam was clear that the vape was only ever going to be a quitting tool and nothing more. Adamant that he doesn’t want to vape forever, Sam has set a plan for reducing his dosage: 12mg, to 11, 9, 6, 3 and then eventually 0mg.

 

Sam has tackled smoking, by replacing certain cigarettes with the ‘vape’, before eventually removing cigarettes all together. The cigarettes he regarded as ‘important’, such as the first in the morning and around meals times were the some of the first ones to go. He acknowledged that these were heavily cue-based and that they were more of a ritual than the actual craving.  By taking these out of his routine, Sam has removed the ‘importance’ of cigarettes and reduced it to a nicotine dependence.

 

Sam had a short lapse, smoking a few cigarettes, when the vaping coil broke and declared them as tasting disgusting! Sam hated the horrible taste in his mouth and could instantly smell how horrible it was. This was when he knew, it wasn’t about the cigarettes – it was simply about craving nicotine. So he concluded that vaping was a good tool for tackling cigarettes, as you can avoid 95% of the harm and as long as you are prepared in the event of running out of liquid/broken coils (thus avoiding lapses!), it can be an effective tool.

 

At the time of this interview, Sam had only had 4 cigarettes in 3 weeks as a result of the one lapse.

Here are some of the beneficial effects Sam talked about:

  • He can breathe easier;
  • Notably increased stamina;
  • No chest pains;
  • His teeth look better already;
  • There’s no ash on his clothes or around the house;
  • His sense of smell is coming back in an incredible way;
  • But most importantly of them all – he doesn’t stink!

 

Sam has nearly managed to kick 3 addictions in less than 2 years. A massive achievement, on any scale.

 

Asked about the effect on his finances, his face lit up! “I used to by a 25g pouch of tobacco every 3 days and I am already seeing the savings! You think buying roll-ups is saving you money, but it’s nothing compared to actually quitting! Everything else seems more affordable now like haircuts and other day-to-day things. It’s not just about what you can treat yourself with!”

 

Overall, Sam feels the most important factor to quitting smoking is to first make sure that you are ready. “The first time I tried to give up alcohol, I wasn’t ready and the attempt was a complete failure and I knew that smoking would not be any different. Once you are ready, just make sure you are well prepared for any ‘hiccups’ and that you keep reminding yourself why you want to quit”

 

What are your motivating factors? Family? Health? Money? Whatever they are, just remember that the benefits of quitting are well worth the effort!

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Brian's Story

Watch how Brian Won His Battle Against Smoking Addiction

Brian, 49, is from London and he has tried to give up smoking 4 times in the past. But the thought of not being able to see his grandchildren grow up gave him every motivation to make the 5th attempt successful!

 

After 30 years of smoking, Brian accessed his local stop smoking service and opted for Champix to help him quit. Taking it day-by-day and finding the right distractions for his cravings, Brian saw both long-term and instant health benefits.

 

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Let's Do it Together!

Julia and Michelle are two friends from Bourne End, who embarked on a journey together to quit smoking. Learn how Bucks Smokefree helped them to kick a 30 year old habit and improve their health, home atmosphere and purses!

Julia and Michelle were neighbours and used to smoke in the garden together after their children had gone to bed – even in the freezing cold, wearing ‘puffa jackets’, to avoid smoking in the house. “It was mad”, explained Julia, explaining the lengths they would go through to have their cigarettes.

After being warned about a health scare, Julia knew it was time to quit smoking. Her treatment, future and life depended on it and after hearing about Bucks Smokefree, from a local health visitor, Julia knew that she could get support to quit smoking and to give her body the best chance of becoming healthy again. But rather than doing it alone, she told Michelle about her situation and intention to quit smoking. To her happy surprise, Michelle didn’t want to just support her friend, she wanted to join her! “Let’s do it together” she said, so they both contacted Bucks Smokefree to learn where and how they could get their free and friendly advice.

The health visitor had initially told Julia about a clinic in Marlow, but after a discussion with the Bucks Smokefree, she soon learned that the same advisor also saw people at a surgery in Bourne End which was nearer to where they lived. This meant that the two friends were able to alter between the two clinics to suit whatever was going on in their lives, at the time. Julia and Michelle soon got comfortable with the clinic, their quit plans and with their own advisor, so were able to make a good attempt at quitting!

“I really couldn’t have done this without someone helping me every few weeks for a good 12 weeks. We started seeing the adviser together; we got quite competitive with the CO readings! It was really good, we always came out laughing! It was like the support had ‘re-wired’ my brain, so I was thinking differently”. Michelle.

“I have felt the health benefits, I am breathing better, I can walk better and I’m sleeping better. I just feel healthier and I don’t smell! The other big benefit has been money! It’s been a huge financial benefit. We worked out how much we had spent on cigarettes: £25,000 each! Just think how many holidays we could have had for that or even how of it we could have put towards buying a house! Our first was not much more than that!”. Julia.

 

3 years after they had both quit, Clare Hodsdon interviewed Julia and Michelle to find out why they started smoking and their quitting experiences

Clare: Why did you start smoking?

Michelle: I was 14 when I had my first cigarette, but started properly when I was 16. It all started at the school disco! Everyone was doing it and our mates would ask “Do you want to try this?”

Julia: I was started at 15 and it got serious when I was 16. Everyone was doing it at the school disco! Then when I worked at the care home it became more serious, everyone smoked and would be going out for a smoke break all the time.

Clare: What made you want to give up?

Michelle: I just felt so ‘errr’ all the time and then Julia said she was seriously unwell and really needed to give up, so we decided to give up together.

Clare:  What happened at your first appointment and how did you quit?

Michelle: The Adviser, Alan, went through all the options available and we decided on the 25mg patches, we thought they would probably be best. I’ve still got my last packet with a few left over; I keep them in a drawer to look at!  I OD’d on satsumas! I’d sit there peeling them instead of smoking; I ate a lot of mints too. But I’m glad I used the patches as I got used to not moving my hands up to my mouth all the time.

Julia: The Adviser was brilliant; he really explained everything and told us what would happen. He said if we were serious then we would need something to help us.  He went through all the options and we decided to use patches.  He then asked when we would like to stop, we said next Friday as we still had cigarettes in our bags, but he said what about tomorrow! He said, “Don’t hang about… start tomorrow while the information is still fresh in your minds”.  He was right and we did! We started on strong strength patches and weaned ourselves off them, we saw the Adviser weekly for just over 12 weeks.

The Benefits of Quitting

Julia and Michelle also shared some of the benefits of quitting and unsurprisingly there are many lifelong advantages:

They have been able to save money to go on holidays – Michelle has been on 3 more holidays in the last 3 years with the money that would have otherwise been spent on cigarettes!

Health wise, Julia and Michelle have noticed that they are sleeping significantly better and that they are more active now as they have more energy during the day. “I just feel better; I can walk quicker so not out of puff.  I just feel healthier and I don’t smell!”

Tom's Way

Tom is a ground work contractor from South Bucks. He is married with four children aged between 4 and 12 years old.

How did you start smoking?

I smoked socially as a teenager with my mates, down the pub with everyone else, in those days you could. Then when I was 21, I started smoking a lot more with my girlfriend of the time. I was smoking at least 20 a day, sometimes more.

I had thought about stopping smoking a few times, my family would say things especially as I was the only one left still smoking. I knew I should, but I just didn’t feel ready.

Why did you decide to stop?

Well, for the kids really, I didn’t like the smell of it when I was around them and it is very smelly. I felt my chest was getting tight and I was coughing a lot more. The expense was getting to me too. I suppose I was more aware of my health in the future and wanting to be around to see the kids grow up.

How did you find out about BSSS?

Some of my family had used the service and so I called them up and booked a first meeting. We had a chat about my smoking and what gum and sprays and other nicotine things I could use to help me stop and not get too stressed. The smoking counsellor gave me some leaflets to read and we agreed to talk on the ‘phone every week as I work long hours all over the place.

How did you quit?

I read the leaflets and tried a few different nicotine gums, lozenges and sprays until I found a 2mg minty gum that was OK, I got that from the counsellor and then I bought a mouth spray which I thought was really good for the cravings and was instant. I would use that mostly in the mornings then use gum to keep me going for the rest of the day. I stopped using the spray after a few months but carried on with the gum until I used it less and less. It’s funny as after a while, when I got home, I didn’t seem to need anything!
My cravings were really bad for the first 2 weeks, they lasted about 6 weeks then they started to ease off, by then I was just using 8 mints a day.

How have your family responded to you giving up smoking?

Yes, they’re all really pleased and say I don’t smell anymore! Yes, they’re happy I gave up.
My mates I work with said “That’s good mate”, One said “You should of done that 10 years ago!” On site there are lots of smokers around me but I seem to be OK and manage to cope.

How has quitting improved your life?

Coughing and my tight chest improved after a few days, I used to have a coughing fit in the mornings. I’m thinking about getting back into football, if my knees will take it! I’m looking forward to exercising and that will probably help to clear my lungs.

Money – well I’ve already saved about £750.00 in three months

What is the best thing about being smokefree?

Feel better; I don’t have to avoid the kids after having a cigarette, like putting my youngest to bed, now I only smell of diesel not fags and diesel!

I have a happier outlook on my future and knowing I’ve reduced the chance of serious illnesses especially since my dad has COPD and seeing the effect that has had in his life.

Another benefit was my taste and smell has come back, I can smell everything, I kept saying about the dog making the house smell!

What advice would you give to others wanting to quit smoking?

“Well I tried out the different NRT’s and cut down a bit first, to give myself a chance to find out what suited me before I actually gave up, so preparing myself for the quit date. For me I needed the mouth spray and mints, especially as the mints melted when I had my coffee! Everyone is different and you have to find out what suits you best, keep in touch with your counsellor as they do help to keep you motivated along the way. Think ahead!”

More success stories

Click here to get inspiration from more people who’ve managed to quit.