Julie is a 55 year old ex-smoker and the Mother-in-Law to one of Shine’s dentists! To mark the end of this year’s Stoptober challenge she kindly answered some questions about how it was for her giving up cigarettes…
How long did you smoke for before you quit?
I smoked for 30 years. I would smoke around ten-a-day but that would vary, if I drank alcohol I would smoke a lot more. I didn’t used to think 10 cigarettes a day was much but now I know 1 cigarette is too many.
How long is it since you quit smoking?
I think it has been about 8 years. I say ‘think’ because I no longer actually think about it. In the early days you count every hour since you have a cigarette, but eventually it is no longer a factor in your life. My grandson can’t remember me smoking so it must be about 8 years.
How does it make you feel that your grandson can’t remember you as a smoker?
It is a huge relief because he really disapproves of smoking! There is much more education about [the dangers of smoking] for children nowadays, so he thinks anyone who smokes is silly. I’m glad he doesn’t think his nanna is silly!
Before you gave up ‘for good’ had you made any previous attempts to stop?
Yes, once. I didn’t do very well but I don’t think I was in the right mind-set. To be able to quit you have to really want to first of all.
What do you think it was that made you eventually give up cigarettes successfully?
My sister becoming ill was the final straw for me. I wanted to take control of my own health.
How did you stop? Did you use any nicotine-replacement aids?
No. The first time I tried I used nicotine patches but when I successfully quit it was just pure willpower. The patches didn’t work for me but I know people who they have really helped. I’d say try anything you can as what doesn’t work for one person can really help another. For me, the fact that I really, really wanted to quit was enough.
How long was it before it felt ‘normal’ to not have a cigarette?
Honestly- a couple of years. So for anyone trying to quit, don’t think you are failing because you still crave a cigarette. Look at the long term goals and the bigger picture and you will get there.
What benefits have you noticed since giving up smoking?
When I was a smoker I had ongoing gum disease issues, which have stabilised since I’ve quit. I still have to have it monitored regularly but for now it is stable, which is a huge relief. I often wonder how my general health would be by now if I’d carried on smoking, and that is enough to make sure I never look back!
Also, I do not know how I afforded to smoke! I am able to treat myself more often now with some of the money that would have been spent on a packet of cigarettes.
Any final advice for anyone who is trying to quit?
In order to quit you must first really want to. Aside from the addictive nature of nicotine, the hardest aspect is breaking the habit. Before attempting to quit make sure you are mentally prepared and if you don’t succeed the first time, it doesn’t mean you won’t be successful the next time- you can do it!
If you are contemplating quitting smoking and need some advice you can always speak to one of the dentists at Shine Dental Care who will be happy to help.