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Hear from a busy working mum from Grimsby who chose to quit for her own self confidence

Relationship with smoking
I wouldn’t class myself as a regular or heavy smoker, I had been smoking for about 6 months and would have 1 or 2 a day depending on how I felt.

What triggered me to start smoking was a lot of serious personal situations, that all seemed to happen within weeks of each other. At the time I felt smoking helped take the edge off the intense feelings I had, whether that was stress, anxiety, anger or emotional upset. Those few minutes to myself – I liked the buzz it gave, how it relaxed me and in a way helped me cope with what was going on. But I hated the smell on my clothes, hair and skin and was very self-conscious that everyone could smell it on me.

I have always known some of the risks and dangers associated with smoking, how it can damage your lungs, age your skin and make you more susceptible to different types of cancer (not just lung cancer). But during that time I blocked out the dangers and risks as I felt it was helping me to deal with events in my life.

Because I didn’t want friends and family to find out that I was smoking (none of them are smokers), I had to work out days and times when it was okay for me to have a cigarette. That added more stress to the situation than it was worth. Something had to give.

So I made a decision to start talking about the personal stresses I was dealing with, rather than bottling them up, painting a smile on my face and using unhealthy coping strategies.

It wasn’t easy but I was now getting advice as to how I could successfully work through my personal situations, looking at the root cause and how to tackle it head on. I realised I had been using cigarettes as a coping mechanism.

Why quit
I made the decision to stop, I didn’t have a set date and time in mind or think “I’ll get to the end of the packet and then stop” – as I knew I’d make an excuse and put it off. So I just stopped. At first temptation was strong, but what kept me going was knowing that I had control over this situation and that helped me turn a personal corner.

I still have half a packet left my cupboard which could be seen by some as a risk, but I see it as a testament of my will power, knowing they are there – but I choose not to have one.

I have been smoke free for 4 months now. I find as time goes by I think less about smoking. I feel proud of myself for what I’ve achieved and that helps a lot when daily life can sometimes get you down.

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