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How I stopped smoking

When he was 26, Tommy stopped smoking. He shares why he chose to give up and what made this time successful.

How to stop smoking - British Lung Foundation

I’d smoked on and off for the last 5 years, but when I started a new job I began smoking more, and every day. It was affecting my wellbeing: I’d become easily irritated when I hadn’t had a cigarette in a while and my asthma symptoms were getting worse. I’d frequently get out of breath just walking up a few sets of stairs at work. 

I began to worry what might happen if I forgot my inhaler. This really brought home the fact I needed to stop smoking. So I really wanted to make a change.

Changing routines and removing myself from tricky situations

At first, it was really difficult. I went cold turkey – I simply chose a date to stop and hoped for the best. This technique had worked for me in the past - although clearly not that well, as I was in a position where I wanted to stop again! But as I was smoking more than the last time I quit, it was much harder.

The first 3 days were the hardest, but it became easier after this point. I quickly stopped craving a cigarette at random points in the day, it was only when I found myself in situations where I enjoyed smoking, such as socialising with friends or having a morning coffee. So I removed myself from these situations and changed my routine and it got a bit easier.

Getting the right support was crucial

I was lucky - my friends and partner all supported me stopping smoking. They wouldn’t let me slip and really encouraged to stick to my promise. Some friends would distract me if I felt the urge to smoke and others would take me out of an environment if it was where I had often smoked before.

My decision to give up wasn’t as a result of a diagnosis, simply that I wanted to stop smoking before it became a serious addiction. Because of this, some of my friends required more persuading and to this day are not convinced that I’ve actually quit smoking. Although annoying at first, I think this encouraged me to keep going as I wanted to prove them wrong.

Despite a few slip-ups, I feel so much better and confident for the future

During the process I had 3 slip-ups, but I found each time affected me more than the last. The last time I had a cigarette I almost threw up – I can’t believe I used to enjoy something I now find so repulsive! I’m now able to be around other smokers for some time, and not feel the need to smoke too.

It’s been 5 months since I stopped smoking, and 3 since my last cigarette.  I’ve noticed I’m not as reliant on my inhaler and feel confident being out of the house if I forget to take it.

I had been training to run a half marathon, which had to be postponed because of the coronavirus, something which wouldn’t have been possible when I was smoking. Since quitting I feel much better about myself, in terms of my health and attitude towards life. I’d encourage anyone who has thought about quitting to do so as the benefits are huge for yourself and the people around you. There's never been a better time to change your habits and quit for good.

Do you need help stopping smoking? Our information explains why you should stop smoking and the steps you can take to quit.

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2 March 2020