Welcome to our Summer SmokeFree Hull Newsletter, packed with lots of useful and fun tips on coping with cravings, activities to enjoy and updates on our service to support you on your smokefree journey.
A message from our Service Manager - Tracy Mikkelsen-Edwards
Welcome to the second edition of our SmokeFree Newsletter. I can’t quite believe that it has been 3 months since our first edition was launched, this year is sure going quickly!
Previously I updated that the service was planning on resuming face-to-face clinics back in the community. We have been working hard in the background to source community venues, and the timetable, which will go ‘live’ on the 26th of July 2021. The rollout of these clinics will be slow to start with, as I am sure you can appreciate, we are unable to use some venues that we previously did prior to coronavirus.
The service will offer both face-to-face and telephone support, with you being able to decide what support you would prefer. As this will be a new way of working for the service, we will monitor your needs, and continue to listen to feedback and make sure that we are providing the service that you want.
We are proud to announce that we are supporting the NHS Lung Health Check Programme. The Programme is aimed at saving lives by detecting lung cancer and other lung conditions much earlier when they are easier to treat. People living in Hull aged from 55 to less than 75, who smoke or used to smoke and have a Hull GP, will be offered a free NHS Lung Health Check. If you are eligible for a lung health check you will receive a letter from your GP inviting you to make an appointment at a time convenient to you. If you want support to stop smoking the nurses will refer you directly to our service and you will be contacted by a member of the SmokeFree Hull team.
If you would like to know more about our service, or how we can support you to stop smoking, please give the service a call to speak to our friendly advisor. I hope you all have a great summer!
Meet the team
SmokeFree Advisor Mhairi
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Reading, visiting the theatre, visiting friends and family (when we’re all allowed).
If you had to listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I don’t think there is any one song really – I love all music and different types, but if I had to choose probably David Bowie’s Life on Mars! This goes back to my youth and has great sentimental value for me.
What job did you want to do when you were younger?
I originally trained as a drama teacher many moons ago, but I worked in theatre as a stage manager.
Why do you enjoy working as a stop-smoking advisor?
I love working with people and trying to make a difference in people’s lives. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but to know that you have maybe planted a seed, that will help people make better lifestyle choices, is both challenging and very rewarding.
What are three items you’d take with you to a deserted island?
Coffee, all my Vera novels, and my cat.
What’s your favourite food?
Why did you choose to work in smoking cessation?
I needed a change of direction and the opportunity arose, and I felt it fitted with what I wanted to do which is help people.
Do you have any pets, and what are their names?
White cat – Bella.
If you could pick up a new skill or hobby in an instant what would it be?
Sew- I have never been able to make things for myself to wear and I think this would be a great skill, especially at the moment, with all the emphasis on recycling, the environment, and making things last.
What would be your idea of a dream holiday?
Island hopping in Greece – with no time limit!
Coping with cravings this summer
By Stop Smoking Advisors Chelsea and Emily
Cravings can feel overwhelming when you’re trying to stop smoking, but they’re a normal part of your smokefree journey. Knowing how to tackle them head-on is the key to getting through it, here are some tips from our stop smoking advisors to help you beat those cravings, but still have a great summer!
Stopping smoking can feel difficult regardless of the situation, and then considering the government’s easing of social restrictions, and the weather becoming nicer, or at least a little warmer (fingers crossed), the chances of socialising with friends and family is more of a possibility for many of us.
So what does this mean for people who are trying to quit smoking or those who have quit?
For some smokers, social events can be a trigger, but there is no need to isolate yourself, for fear of relapse. Having some stop smoking tips ahead of time, or a plan will work more effectively.
If you are invited to a social event this can be challenging if there is alcohol, which can make it harder to stay strong and not smoke. Also, we know that being around other smokers can be more tempting and harder to resist too. Willpower is required, but again planning is key, so below are some hints and tips that our SmokeFree Hull clients have found useful, or many have suggested themselves stay smokefree this summer.
- Maybe invite some non-smoking friends along, so that you have someone to talk to whilst other friends may smoke.
- Enjoy yourself and have a drink if you wish, but some find limiting how many drinks they have is useful to stay in control of their quit.
- Telling people that you do not smoke, or you no longer smoke creates a positive frame of mind from a positive statement. It also shows to others that you are committed to the quit which may mean that they are less likely to encourage you to smoke with “go on, one won’t hurt”.
- Telling people how proud you are of yourself and how many days it has been since your last cigarette, sharing your experiences can remind you just how well you are doing or have done, it may even encourage some people to consider stopping themselves.
- Remember your motivation and always revisit the reasons as to why you wanted to stop smoking in the first place.
- Remember all the positives you may have experienced since quitting such as better sleep, more energy, being able to breathe easier or just more money in your wallet/purse at the end of the week.
- Asking yourself how you would feel if you did have some tobacco. Would you feel disappointed that all that hard work has gone to waste?
- Curiosity can also be a trigger, wondering what it would taste and feel like. It is important to remember just how addictive nicotine is and even a few puffs of tobacco is enough to get you hooked again, so ask yourself is it worth it?
- Take some Nicotine Replacement with you to use if you feel tempted.
Do not become complacent and think one won’t hurt.
Alternatively, finding other activities can be useful in trying to alter your routine such as spending time with friends or family who know you are stopping or have recently stopped smoking themselves.
Going for regular walks together or taking the dog for a walk if you have one, if not borrow a neighbour’s dog (If you like dogs that is) even just a five-minute brisk walk around the neighbourhood can help to distract and help take your mind off your cravings.
Returning to work
Going back to work could be a worry for some people and the lure of having that five minutes with your colleagues at the smoke shed can make some people feel that they are missing out. Spend your time more constructively and get out in the fresh air or sit and have your lunch in a smokefree area. Be prepared and have something to fill your time on your breaks like a magazine or game.
So you see, you can still do all the things that you enjoy doing, without the need to have tobacco in your hand.
Keep remembering the reasons why you quit.
Keep reminding yourself of how far that you’ve come.
Keep strong, it is your choice to not smoke and remain smokefree.
Our SmokeFree client shares their inspiring story.
“I was 28 when I started smoking, and it was due to my marriage breaking down. I was living away from Hull at the time, and my son was only 18 months old, I had nobody to support me. My parents still lived in Hull and my sister and my mother were smokers. I asked for a cigarette one day to cope with the stress.
I was then hooked, and I increased that one cigarette to smoking 20 cigarettes a day for many years. When I moved back to Hull, I was still smoking 20 a day. When things settled down in my personal life, I was able to cut this down.
Finally last year I decided that I wanted to stop smoking to improve my health. I saw it as a new challenge for me to tackle. I rang my local surgery and they referred me to the SmokeFree Hull team to help me quit.
Mhairi is my personal advisor and with her help, I was able to get down to 5 cigarettes again. I used the gum which I found much better than the patches. I could feel the treatment working, the only cigarette I still craved was the one in the morning when I first woke up. I realised that there’s no textbook way of doing it, it’s your own experience and which nicotine replacement therapy you use depends on what you like.
Throughout the weeks I started to notice that I had more energy. The turning point for me was when I was on a walk and I went to sit on my usual bench near my house. A man was sitting there smoking and the smell of it was horrible. I thought this would trigger my cravings, but it was the opposite and turned my stomach. I came away and thought, “Yes - I don’t need this anymore!”
Mhairi’s strong encouragement was very useful. I know I was stubborn in the beginning and a bit difficult, but her perseverance made me do it. I liked surprising Mhairi each week that I’d actually stayed smoke-free! I found that motivation really helpful and supportive, which I’d never had before. I enjoyed the weekly phone calls. When I felt confident enough to drop this down to fortnightly calls I knew I’d turned a corner.
My advice to others would be that there’s no textbook way of quitting. It has to be on your own terms and your timetable.
I didn’t even tell my son when I’d quit, in case I let myself down, as I didn’t need that kind of pressure. This was my challenge to complete for myself, after years and years of everything being about other people, I was doing this for me and me alone. When I finally did tell him, he was really pleased for me.
I don’t know how long I’ve been smokefree now, as I don’t want to jinx it, but I know I couldn’t have done it alone. Remember to take it at your own pace, when you know in your mind that you’re ready, as it’s your own journey to succeed at!”
By Stop Smoking Advisor Shaneen
Staying healthy and smokefree means more than just stopping smoking. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of maintaining good health and can help you feel at your best.
A classic Greek salad
This is a lovely colourful recipe that is quick and easy to make. It’s great for a healthy working from home lunch, and I often make a big portion and keep it in the fridge, ready to eat over a couple of days. On a colder day, it’s great served over a warmed wholemeal pitta bread, or it can be used as a tasty accompaniment at a barbecue.
Frozen berry yoghurt
This is a great healthy summer pudding, which literally takes 2 minutes to make, and it feels like a really indulgent treat for very few calories. Refreshing on a warm day and especially after exercising.
Love Parks Week (12th - 21st July)
By Stop Smoking Advisor Emma
When trying to stay smokefree, it’s important to remember that physical exercise is a great tool to boost your body and mind, but it also helps with making you feel happier and less likely to reach for a cigarette.
There are lots of wonderful local parks in Hull, that have space and activities to help you find something you enjoy – even taking a brisk walk every day can help improve your health. Here are some of the best parks you can explore during #LoveParksWeek this July!
Pride online events
Like a lot of events this year, Hull Pride, which would have celebrated its 20th anniversary on the 31st July 2021, has been cancelled.
However, there are still lots of activities going on online to get involved in and show your support.
For more information on what online events they are hosting visit the Pride in Hull website.
We’re also online to answer all your stop smoking questions!
If you have a question or you want to chat about something, we’re here for you. Our online chat service is free, and you'll be speaking to a trained stop-smoking advisor.
We are open on Monday from 2.00pm-3.00pm and on Thursday from 10.00am – 11.00am.Chat to us online