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!”