I was at college when I started smoking, either 17 or 18 years old. It was just something I got into, no big reason. Some of my friends smoked, so I guess you could say I just went with the crowd. It became a habit after that, I first started smoking up to 10 cigarettes a day, which soon progressed as I got older.
When I started working full time after college, the amount just went up and up. My colleagues smoked, so it was just so easy to go outside and have a cigarette break with them. It’s always been about being social with my smoking, even when I was at home and I was on my phone, I would always need a cigarette too.
I tried to quit a few times, and on one occasion when I had some teeth taken out, I managed to quit for a few months, but I would always be drawn back when I was out with my friends. I always used to think, ‘I’ll just have one, that won’t hurt’, but it soon builds up again.
I do think when I’m stressed, I smoked more as well. In 2008 I split up with my husband and this was very overwhelming at the time, I then moved from Scarborough to Hull and throughout these circumstances, my smoking got worse.
I never really enjoyed the taste, but once the nicotine had a hold on me, that doesn’t really matter. After that, I always needed that ‘hand to mouth’ action with smoking, and the few occasions when I did try and stop, it was this that always brought me back.
However, my circumstances are different now, I found out I was pregnant and this changed everything. This will be my first child and at 39 years old, I wanted to do everything in my power to make sure they had a healthy start in life. I am on the older side of pregnancy and I recognise the risks, so I needed to create a safe environment for my child to grow inside me as there were other factors to consider with my age.
Due to my pregnancy, I received a letter through the post from the NHS, enquiring if I wanted to become smokefree. So, I jumped at the chance and completed the self-referral form as soon as possible and requested to be contacted by the Smokefree Stop Smoking service in Hull.
My Advisor Chelsea was so helpful in providing me with all the information that I needed to pick the right treatment for me. Working with Chelsea has been brilliant. I was shocked when I investigated the damage smoking can do to your unborn child, with low birth rates etc, it really brought it home what I needed to do. I knew I had to do everything I could to have a healthy pregnancy.
At my first appointment I was prescribed patches and the inhalator as my NRT, out of the two I found the inhalator more effective in battling my ‘hand to mouth’ cravings. I haven’t experienced many cravings, and luckily my hormones haven’t made me want a cigarette either if anything I feel like they’re decreasing my desire for cigarettes, which is great!
I have been smokefree for 4 weeks now, and I can already see the improvements. My chest feels clearer and I feel healthier overall, which is great with a baby on the way, as I’ll need the added energy. After a while, I no longer needed the inhalator as much either, and I’ve gradually gone down from 5 cartridges to 3 in a matter of weeks. Once you set your quit date, I think you just need to get on with it.
I have also noticed my bank balance is higher, and I’m able to save the money I would have spent on smoking, on my baby instead. The extra money will come in handy, I calculated that I’m saving about £200 a month, from stopping smoking, which is fantastic!
I haven’t started buying anything yet, as it’s pretty early in my pregnancy and I’m not due until February next year, but it’s the security of knowing that I have the money saved to get everything that we’ll need as a family, that is so important to me.
My family have been so supportive in my progress as well. My boyfriend smokes, but only 1-2 a day and he only does this outside. He’s really proud of me for stopping smoking and wants our baby to grow up in a smokefree home too. I think this is the best way to protect our baby.
I work in retail in Hull city centre and I used to go out for cigarettes all the time on my breaks. My colleagues are really supportive though, even the smokers. They know why I want to stop and they’re behind me all the way, they won’t try and offer me one, as they know I have a new focus now.
I couldn’t have done this on my own without the support from the Smokefree Hull service. I really valued the encouragement I got from Chelsea, she rings me every week, and it’s nice to have someone to talk to. She was very friendly and helpful; she knows her stuff about pregnancy and smoking too. The service has been brilliant, very supportive and provides advice and tips to help you.
If you’re pregnant and worried about your smoking too, give the stop smoking service a call, they’re there to help support you. With the different treatment packages they can offer, they’ll be something that’s right for you. It’s the best thing you can do for the sake of your baby. You’re not only responsible for your own health, but the health of the baby growing inside you as well.
I’m now very excited about my pregnancy, and I’m looking forward to buying all the things we’ll need to prepare properly. I’m very grateful to Chelsea and the Smokefree Hull team, for enabling me to achieve my goal and create a healthier life for my family.