My mother passed away when I was 25 years old, and I started smoking through my stress and grief. Since then, it has been a big part of my life on and off for the past 35 years, so I was very sceptical about the outcome of my smokefree journey initially. I am originally from Poland, and I don’t speak much English, so I thought it was going to be difficult to communicate with the service.
I have tried to stop smoking on a few other occasions too, I took breaks in-between when I was pregnant and when my children were born, but then I would always start again. I always felt that I didn’t have the strength to continue without cigarettes before, as I had a very stressful job with a lot of responsibility, so I thought that I needed the cigarettes to cope. When I realised I wanted to quit, I was doubtful at the beginning, as I didn’t think it was possible for me to fight the habit, but I’m doing really well so far and I’m pleased with the results from the service.
As I’m getting older, I wanted to improve my health and I have also recently discovered that I have a thyroid problem, as well as having the usual aches and pains with age. I wanted to quit to improve my wellbeing and to make sure I was doing everything I could to help my body long-term.
I found the Smokefree Hull service through my Polish friend, who speaks better English than me. My friend researched online and found the details and she put me in contact with my Smokefree Advisor Jo. We had arranged to have my first face to face appointment in April, and my friend was going to come along and translate for me, but due to Covid-19 that was not possible and I was worried that I wasn’t going to be able to seek help. However, Jo advised we could still continue my support and appointments via the telephone, and we could communicate through an external interpreter programme instead, so the language barrier was not a problem. We have continued talking on the telephone through this programme, alongside taking my tablets, ever since and I have been very pleased with the way Jo has been managing my treatment in Hull.
I was prescribed the drug Champix, and I find the tablets very helpful. I have tried electronic cigarettes in the past, but I didn’t find them very useful. I combat my cravings through drinking water, and whenever I feel the need for a cigarette I take a sip, and then the feeling goes away. I am really pleased with the results so far. However, I am only human, I do have moments of weakness, but thanks to Jo and the service, I have the strength to continue the fight on my own now.
My quality of life has improved since stopping smoking, my breathing is clearer and I’m not short of breath anymore. I have always liked doing exercise, but I have found that I’m able to do more activities now than I could before, so I cycle and walk the dog more often to stay fit and healthy.
One of the biggest improvements that I have noticed, is that my sense of taste and smell has enhanced as well. My son has started praising my cooking, which he has never done before, so my cooking must be better too! Now when I walk down the street, I can smell the flowers, which gives me such joy. My friends and family are all very supportive of me, they have noticed how much happier I am too.
The service has been very helpful, I have enjoyed the calls with Jo, and I am very grateful for her support, she has been wonderful. I will keep fighting; I hope I can maintain this battle successfully when the treatment ends. It does play on my mind, the knowledge that it’s easy to relapse, but I just hope that if I did slip up and have a cigarette, that it wouldn’t taste the same as it did before, so I’ll be discouraged to start again.
The best part of the service for me was talking with Jo and taking the tablets. I had a few issues initially with collecting the tablets from the pharmacy, due to the language barrier, but this was quickly worked out by Jo. The service has given me the confidence I didn’t have before. The talking, motivating and checking in, have all allowed me to have the inner strength to quit.
I am happy to say that I have now been smokefree for 8 weeks, and I would highly recommend this service to others wanting to stop smoking. My friend who was going to translate for me, is also struggling with smoking, and I recommended the service to her as well, so hopefully, she gets the help she needs to.
I normally like face to face contact with people, but due to the virus this was not possible during my treatment plan, but the telephone support was great, and the interpreter programme made it easy to communicate. All the interpreters on the programme have been very good.
I have been very impressed with the Smokefree Hull service, and if I were allowed, I would give my Advisor Jo a big hug, to say thank you for all her help!