Success Stories

Over 88,000 people have used Warwickshire Stop Smoking Service since it started in 2000.  Over 21,000 have become long-term non-smokers.  That’s over 10,600 premature deaths that have been avoided!

That’s enough of the numbers!  Impressive as they are, we are sure you want to hear about the difference stopping smoking with Warwickshire Stop Smoking Service has made to others, and therefore, could make to you…

To share your smokefree success send your quit story to smokefreewarwickshire@nhs.net

Husband and Wife quit together

My wife and I set a date to stop smoking on 3 September 2015.  The reason for this decision was my wife went to our doctors and had a nasty shock when she was diagnosed with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).  She was told if she was to carry on smoking, she would at some point, finish up in a wheelchair with oxygen cylinders.  So with that shock she stopped smoking but told me to carry on as it was her problem not mine.  But I just could not do that as she needed my support and to smoke in front of her would have been cruel so we both started a 12 week stop smoking course and ‘touch wood’, 14 weeks later we are both smokefree.

Warwick residents who used the stop smoking service at the GP practice.

James' Story smokefree since the 90`s

I gave up smoking for 4 years in the mid 90s. However, in a moment of weakness I thought that if I had one cigarette I would not become a habitual smoker again.

I was wrong. Within 6 months I was smoking 20 a day.

Despite this set back, I knew ‘I should never give up, trying to give up’.

On 27th December 1998 I had the following sequence of thoughts in about 30 seconds.

  • I will give up on 31st December 1999. I did not want to smoke in the new millennium.
  • That was too much pressure – Millennium Eve and giving up smoking.
  • I thought, I will give up on 31st December 1999. That will give me 12 months to figure it out before the Millennium.
  • I thought, why not give up this minute?
  • That is what I did and I have been a non-smoker ever since.

It was the best day’s work I have ever done.

This time, I was sure to never smoke anything, ever. Not one single ‘puff’ has passed my lips since that date.

I hope you find this story useful.

Samantha`s Wake Up Call

I gave up 6 years ago aged 30.

I had been thinking about it for ages and talking to the nurse at my doctors. But I always found an excuse.

The final wake up call came from my little girl who called me to ‘look mummy’ – she was pretending to smoke a pen.

I actually felt disgusted in myself and threw the pack in the bin.  I have never touched one since.

Being a mother is a big incentive to give up,  you are a role model.

The best tip I could give, would be to break old habits, don’t put yourself in situations where you will be tempted. Try and do it with someone so you can support each other,  I did it with my partner.

I also stopped drinking alcohol too as I found this an easier way. I feel a million times better now and have a lot more money to treat my children with.

Emily`s story

My name is Emily, I’m pregnant, living in Nuneaton and I’ve managed to quit smoking for the last four weeks.

I tried when first pregnant but only lasted a week, this time the support of my mum and Kelly, the Stop Smoking in Pregnancy Advisor, is making a real difference.

Kelly did my carbon monoxide reading which showed the harm smoking can do to my baby and I was shocked – I knew smoking was harmful to my baby but not how much.

Patches worked best – I tried several nicotine products but this was one that worked for me.

Kelly took an interest and having a chat with support was important.

It’s great because it has helped having mum quit too, we’ve  helped each other.

I had a blip one day which meant the carbon monoxide reading went up, so I realised that a small mistake had big consequences – I liked to see how the reading was low each visit as it showed how well I was doing.

My advice to others would be to get some help, try the Stop Smoking Service to see if it helps. Support from my family is important, Nana has been very supportive.

I’m so glad to have done it and I couldn’t have done it without Kelly and mum.

Dave`s Story

My journey to becoming a non smoker is probably no different to yours.

I have quit smoking many times, sometimes lasting just hours, sometimes going a whole week and on occasions, for many months at a time.

But each time I would falter and succumb to the “I’ll just have one” or the “I need a fag to calm my nerves” and you know the rest, before long you are back on the 20 a day again.

Now things are very different. Not only am I a non smoker I have continued to make life-style changes and my health has benefited massively.

No longer the couch potato and the guy at work standing outside in the rain getting his nicotine fix, I walk my dog several miles a day, I eat some fantastic food that I never really could taste before.

I also take regular exercise, something I would never have considered as a smoker. Having better health would be enough of a reward for not smoking but the fact that I have saved so much money and been able to buy things that I would never have been able to afford as a smoker, is just the  icing on the cake.

In the past I have tried many products to help quit, but for me, the NRT products seem to just increase my addiction to nicotine and although they helped to stop smoking tobacco, I would still be addicted to the nicotine. This time I tried Champix- a different approach to quitting and for me, one that worked.

You are going to get lots of support from the Stop Smoking Service, use them to find the right solution to help you to quit. They will be able to help you along the way to becoming a non smoker. Even when your having a bad day, call them, they will help.

My only words of advice would be, if you have tried to quit in the past and failed, don’t stop trying. One day, like myself you will do it and believe me, you won’t look back.

Good luck with quitting and a new healthier life.

From Smoker to triathlete

michael triathlon

Thanks to Michael for sharing his inspirational blog with us about his journey from smoking around 200 cigarettes a week to now competing in triathlons!

Michael gave up smoking by using the Stop Smoking Service

Read his story here.

I can’t believe it’s been two years since I gave up smoking.  At today’s prices and given I used to smoke 200 cigarettes a week, I would have saved over £8,000 if I’d put it all in a jar, but instead I found Triathlon.  And I am so pleased that I did.

Two years ago I wrote this blogpost http://smoker2triathlete.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/the-hardest-thing-i-have-ever-written.html
Last year I wrote this blogpost http://smoker2triathlete.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/1-year-anniverssary.html

Two whole years in a new relationship with my lungs and body. I can’t believe how much my life has changed in those two years either.

I am now a Triathlon Coach, I have helped set up a new Triathlon Club which now boasts nearly 100 members, have a love affair with triathlon, have completed triathlons at every distance and finally settled on the distance I enjoy most. I can’t wait to see what the rest of my new life has in store for me.

Looking back on my life from two years ago, I spent a lot of time drinking in pubs, eating the wrong food and generally abusing and poisoning my body. Nowadays I spend most of my spare time exercising and I love it.

I love challenging myself and pushing my body to work harder. Yes running is still not my favourite thing but two years ago I couldn’t run to the end of the street whereas now I run three or four times most weeks.

The last two years have had their ups and downs, but that is life. I am so much healthier since my decision to quit and really enjoy my new found love of exercise.

I am a proud Ex-Smoker, I wish I had found triathlon sooner in my life and stopped poisoning my body earlier.

Every time I see someone smoking I want to scream at them and point out the damage they are doing to themselves and how with some hard work they can achieve one of the best things they will ever do.

Giving up smoking was a life changing moment for me. At times it was hard but it was so worth it. I just wish everyone else still stuck in the trap could see sense.

Thanks for reading,

Michael
A Proud Ex-Smoker

Danielle's story

Hi.  I started smoking at 21 and then when I found out I was pregnant I wanted to stop smoking because it was harming the baby so I said to myself “I need to give up”, so I did.

All I did was use my mind, thinking “no don’t do it, it won’t help” so now I haven’t smoked for a long time.

Now I see a nice lady and I tell her that I don’t want a cigarette and today I feel happy, I’ve got a lot of energy, and my unborn child will be happy that I don’t have to smoke any more.

Lynne`s Story

I have smoked for 3 long decades; during which time I have given up for a few days, a few weeks even a whole year….only to return to the habit.

This time when I stepped into the doctor’s surgery I honestly did not know if I was capable of really stopping for good; yet in my mind was the thought of “give it one more go”.

I told my nurse that giving me pamphlets with those dire photos of black lungs just would not do it…I did not know what would help…but help was what I needed.  She listened to my past failures; the time I had stopped for a whole year and then gone back because I had put on weight and feared the weight gain more than the health risks of smoking.  She heard about the difficult times in my life where stress had lured me back into the smoking game. I told her I really did not wish to waste hers or the NHS’ time and money, however I did want to quit but I was completely at a loss as to how I could.  After hearing my history she suggested that I go onto Champix Tablets.

I was to plan my ‘Quit Day’ and work into this by slowing my smoking down before the big day.  I left the surgery armed with my medication. Determination and desperation were mixed emotions churning around inside me…. I would give it my best shot.

Ok…So it was not easy…but I was surprised to find it was easier than I expected. Was the thought of giving up worse than the actual doing it?  Had I been given a miracle medication or was it just my time to quit?  I really do not know, maybe a combination of all these things…. what I do know is that as each day progressed I found myself feeling better, I could breathe easier, climb the hill near my home without the usual need to stop because I was out of breath, my voice sounded better minus the smokers croak; my biggest joy was that I smelt of my favourite perfume instead of stale tobacco.

As the days went on I found myself actually enjoying the giving up process.  I moved furniture around so that I no-longer had my ‘smokers areas’…I decorated, cleaned, de-cluttered…it seemed to me that my whole house needed a make-over along with myself.  I started exercising so I would not gain weight, surprising myself by actually losing the stubborn weight I had been trying to shift for a couple of years. I bought some new clothes with the money I saved on tobacco.

Soon I realised that this complete overhaul of myself and my life had had an amazing and positive effect on me….I felt younger, more excited about life and life in return, seemed to be offering me more.

As I looked back over my journey I realised I had sailed through the first month with comparative ease considering all the insurmountable impossibility thoughts I had had on entering my doctors surgery that first day…. During the next 2 months I soon came to realise I was free of a habit that had dominated most of my life. The feeling of being in control was truly liberating.

It has almost been 3 months since my last cigarette; yet it feels like it was a lifetime ago. I have surprised myself with my new found joy of life; I love being a non smoker and I will never return to the world of smoking.

My health has improved dramatically, I have more energy and look and feel good. I feel more confident and have an inner knowing that I can rise to challenges and succeed. Life has never been better or offered more possibilities. Thanks to my doctor, nurse and the NHS I look forward to a better and brighter future; finally I made that step towards a healthier life and finally…. I feel free.

Maureen`s story

I smoked from age 14 to age 51. When I quit I smoked 60 a day – what a waste of money!

Over the years I have tried all sorts of things – nicotine replacement, acupuncture, hypnosis etc but all without success – my heart was just not in it. Also the ‘anti’ ‘holier than thou’ brigades really got up my nose (they still do) and as a natural rebel I just wanted to blow smoke in their smug faces!

However one morning I woke up with a bit of a hangover and did not feel like smoking. I had been considering quitting for some time but had done nothing about it, but for some reason now the time seemed right. I realised that smoking was ruling my life – every time I flew I just wanted the flight to be over so I could have a smoke, I wouldn’t go to places which were non-smoking and I could not enjoy train travel which I love. We were living in the USA at the time and I desperately wanted to go to California where smoking is more or less universally banned and I wanted to enjoy it rather than wondering when and where I could get my next tobacco hit.

So I stopped. Yes just like that. I had to change my routines as I realised that my problem was not nicotine addiction but habit – smoking was linked to other things. Once I understood that, it was easy. The first couple of weeks were difficult but not impossible. I kept a carton of cigarettes in the house so I never had to panic if I wanted to backtrack and I used to talk to them and tell them they were no longer friends of mine (OK so I’m a bit of a nutter!). It is now 11 years and 3 months since I gave up.

I would still like a cigarette now and then but dare not give in to the temptation. I never go in pubs now that smoking is banned as there is no atmosphere any more and they smell of sweaty feet!

On the positive side, I feel liberated and also proud of the fact that I did it through sheer willpower.

If you are still trying to give up, make sure the time is right and use a method that suits you – develop your own coping strategies and if you feel like screaming or crying don’t be ashamed to do so!

Good luck to all embarking on this life-changing journey.

Pregnancy Success - August 2016

Dawn (my Advisor) was excellent.  She was kind, friendly and professional.  She helped me quit and I looked forward to seeing her as her visits helped me stay on track.

Client from Southam

Pregnancy Success - July 2016

I am so pleased with my Advisor, Debbie.  She is helpful, supportive and kind.  I would not change anything about her or the Service she delivers.  🙂  Thank you Debbie

Client from Nuneaton

 

Pregnancy Success - Rachel Robbins, Warwick, February 2016

I first gave up smoking when I was pregnant with the help of the stop smoking service for pregnant women in Warwick. Unfortunately I started again due to thinking I wouldn’t be hooked just having one puff. Before I knew it I was back on 15-20 cigarettes a day. My husband and I recently found out we are expecting another baby and again with the help of the stop smoking service I have managed to quit and this time it will be for good. I now know that for me to have just one is impossible. I feel so much better about myself and knowing that I’m protecting my baby is good as well. We are enjoying the money we are saving and I truly believe I’ll never let cigarettes take over my life again. The nicotine replacement is a god-send and it’s so nice to have help and support. My children are so pleased not to have a smelly mummy anymore who’s always rushing off for a fag!

Rachel Robbins, Warwick

Pregnancy Success - Tori White, Rugby, February 2016

I gave birth to my first child on 24th August 2014, I smoked cigarettes towards the end of my pregnancy. When the midwife delivered my placenta I was shocked by the damage smoking had caused it. Now pregnant with my second child due June 4th 2016 the image of the placenta stuck in my mind. I worried that the experience I had wouldn’t be enough to motivate me to quit smoking, I had been smoking 20 cigarettes a day for a number of years and knew it would be a real challenge.

My first midwife appointment offered me the support to help me quit smoking; I only had to wait for a text/phone call. In the meantime I took it upon myself to try and cut down to a couple a day- I soon realised this wasn’t good enough.
Next I decided to go cold turkey, which through will power was do-able but I wasn’t very happy. I did stress a lot and being a full time mum while my partner worked long hours it was a struggle. I tried not taking frustration out on my son, if I did get cross, I’d sing at him rather than shout- he’s only 17 months so I didn’t want him to pick up on any negative vibes. I had a lot of resentment towards my family members for smoking too which again was a struggle to hide my frustration. Luckily it wasn’t long until I got a message from Lynne, a Stop Smoking Advisor who arranged to come for a visit.

Lynne was great, she understood my situation and was still willing to help, even though I had got through the first hurdle of cutting out cigarettes I was however very tense and did not feel confident that I could keep it up. She soon told me about products the NHS scheme could offer and reassured me there was no harm to the baby if I allowed nicotine back into my system.

Her duty as a smoking advisor was very clear as she had a big organised folder, she knew all the science and plenty of leaflets to hand out, but there was also a level of personal interaction at each meet up, it allowed me to open up how I was coping and my feelings towards everything as well as how many products I had used that day, etc. Anyway, the products were a result! I use the gum daily and the inhalator in social situations- at my mums, on holiday with my mates or just something to work towards.

Having Lynne come and visit is a reality check, I always look forward to doing the carbon monoxide reading to prove me and my baby are smoke free.
My pregnancy isn’t over yet but I highly credit the support the quit smoking team provide, always so friendly and non judgemental- stopping was so stressful but they have made quitting smoking a lot easier and I honestly feel more confident that I will not have another cigarette week by week.

Tori White, Rugby

Seth, Stratford-upon-Avon, December 2015

I quit last year after getting in contact with a stop smoking advisor via my local GP surgery in Stratford. I knew I wanted to quit but it was the advice and support I received that gave me the courage to actually do it. I used Champix and read Allen Carr’s ‘Easy Way to Quit’ book. It’s now been 11 months and I just can’t see myself going back. I had smoked 20 a day for 25 years and I remember vividly the fear I felt the day before my quit date, but by conquering this and sticking to it, I not only feel healthier (and wealthier) but empowered to achieve anything. If you are smoker like I was I urge you to make the choice to quit, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Seth Turner, Stratford

Tiffany, Southam

The stop smoking clinic has turned my life around

This time last year as the new year approached I was thinking about what I was going to give up in the new year.

I have smoked since the age of 12 years, I’m now 42. Both my parents smoked through my childhood, my dad gave up when I was a teenager, my mum is a very heavy smoker now and she is incredibly unhealthy and inactive.  I had never ever considered giving up smoking, a fag to me was my best friend – that all changed back in March.

The stop smoking clinic has turned my life around, without the support I received I would never have succeeded.  My nurse Angie was wonderful, I will always be grateful.  With the money I have saved from giving up smoking I have treated myself to having my hair regularly done at a salon, purchased a coffee machine, a trip to Disneyland Paris and I am planning on taking my husband on a day trip to Bruges in the new year.  Anyone who is considering giving up, do it! You can succeed!  Please get in touch with the Stop Smoking Service, they will give you so much support.  I am so much happier for doing it, I have made myself and my family so proud.

Stephen

I ran my first full marathon

I quit using Champix tablets. Two weeks after quitting I was walking down the canal and two runners came past me and I thought to myself I will have I go at that so I went home put some trainers on went back down the canal and started to run.

After two minutes I thought I was going to die. So about 4 times a week I would go down the canal and run a bit longer, I was loving it.

I then entered the great north run (13.1 miles) so I trained hard and did it.

After that I joined a running club and I’ve done loads of races. 6 half-marathons and even won the George Eliot 5k.

Then in October I ran my first full marathon and I have just been given a place from my running club in next year’s London marathon.

So giving up smoking for me has changed my life so much thank to the NHS and two runners.

 

I Stopped in Pregnancy

The Stop Smoking in Pregnancy Service was very good.  Annette (my Advisor) was very personable and friendly, very positive and encouraging.  I felt no pressure.  There was good availability for appointments.

 

Pregnancy Success - Such a good service

Thank you NHS for providing such a good service – which I didn’t expect.  Kelly (my Advisor) has been so supportive in helping me stop smoking during my pregnancy.  I honestly don’t think I could have done it without her support.  She is a great listener who doesn’t judge and completely understands.  Thank you!  🙂

Usings E-cigs