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LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Wed 05-Mar-14 17:00:54

Smoking: the end of an affair

On Valentine's Day last year, Susan Bradley started a difficult journey and finally cut ties with her worst habit. She recently celebrated a whole year smoke-free.

One week ahead of No Smoking Day, Susan's resolution is standing fast. Let us know your tips and experiences below.

Susan Bradley

Smoking: the end of an affair

Posted on: Wed 05-Mar-14 17:00:54


Lead photo

Kicking the habit

The first anniversary of me giving up smoking has just passed. I chose a date I would remember, 14 February. I had tried before - but this time I chose lozenges to help me stop.

The other times I gave up I used patches or nothing, which obviously didn't help and, if memory serves me well, I lasted no more than two weeks without a cigarette. I was always afraid I would not be able to cope. I thought I would get angry and irritable with people, which worried me. There was a period of trying and failing in the past. All very valuable experience.

I decided I didn't want to be trapped anymore. I wanted to be free from having to buy cigarettes and having to have to smoke. I wanted my tongue to stop furring up and to be able to taste, to smell things and stop being the thing that smelt. I wanted my family to be able to visit. I wanted to see my grandchildren more. They hated the smell of smoke. It must have been awful, I notice the smell on smokers and in the rooms they work in. Yuck.

As well as all those very important things for me, I wanted my husband to have a chance of living a little longer. John and I gave up at the same time. We went to the stop smoking session clinic together quite a while before the actual day of giving up. They give you the lozenges on prescription. When we were interviewed we got onto the subject of why John wanted to give up; he had recently been diagnosed with leukaemia. The interviewer had told us that her husband had suffered with it and died four years previously with pneumonia. That sad news made us more determined: we collected the lozenges and patches and waited.

I decided I didn't want to be trapped any more. I wanted to be free from having to buy cigarettes and having to have to smoke. I wanted my tongue to stop furring up and to be able to taste, to smell things and stop being the thing that smelt.

I remember feeling I was in charge of when I needed a lozenge. It suited me best to have this small chalky tablet in my mouth slowly dissolving away. It helped me focus or stop focusing. I had a gnawing feeling in my stomach so it felt and burning sensations in all my limbs.

Sometimes I found myself breathing in slowly and deeply, and out more quickly; something that still happens. Which was withdrawal and which menopause I'm not completely sure. It was horrible, I will not lie to you. I laughed crying. A colleague said that she too could quite easily smoke a cigarette even though she had given up a year ahead of me. Knowing it is not easy is good.

Giving up together was better this time. On the occasions before we found it very easy to confuse emotions and collapse under the strain. Our emotions and ability to cope was not improved by smoking. This fact took a while to dawn on me. So many people I knew had given up, as we were not allowed to smoke at work on site. When I first started work lots of people went for a cigarette in the staff room. Now I no longer go for a fag, have to leave my office to take a short walk and smoke, in all weathers.

As the year is now completed, I will celebrate by taking up the challenge to address the other issues; like the extra two stone I carry around.

Doing it together is not always a great help as both of you are suffering and there is not too much support to share at critical times. I just took on the attitude that it didn't matter if John wanted to try again another time and I wasn't going to stop him. It took away the pressure and voilà, here we are. Nearly every day from the start I said, "I am really glad I don't smoke". I wonder if that helped?

By Susan Bradley

Twitter: @Gransnet

Anne58 Wed 05-Mar-14 18:02:55

Well done, but the extra weight is a problem. I cannot think of anyone I know who has given up without piling on quite a bit of weight.

carnationa Wed 05-Mar-14 19:57:35

I know someone that managed to stop smoking and not put on weight. But she dies 2 years later of lung cancer!

Ana Wed 05-Mar-14 19:58:39

How encouraging....hmm

carnationa Wed 05-Mar-14 20:02:41

I know sorry but it is true, we were all amazed, she had smoked all of her life then stopped for two years. She had lots of stress going on so most probably that was why her health suffered rather than the giving up smoking OBVIOUSLY it is the right thing to give up smoking, it takes years off you.

Ana Wed 05-Mar-14 20:21:44

confused Er...yes.

Spidergran5 Wed 05-Mar-14 20:26:06

I know what it's like trying to quit when you've been smoking for years, it's really tough breaking the habit. Really feel for you Susan. Great blog post.

Nonu Wed 05-Mar-14 20:42:56

I would think that if a person had smoked for say 60 years , whatever the experts say it would be too late to stop, the lungs would be damaged plus the dependence might be overwhelming . Just saying !!
People just have to make life choices !

bikergran Wed 05-Mar-14 21:02:42

agree with Nonu DH has smoked for 60 yrs and is now suffering badly, in fact he is on his nebuliser as I write, but which now gives him little relief, gasping for breath most of the time and every movement is so exhausting, he has c.o.p.d and end stage emphysema, like you say the damage had been done many yrs ago.

Nonu Wed 05-Mar-14 21:07:31


carnationa Wed 05-Mar-14 21:57:54

good luck to everyone trying to give can do it!! smile

Ana Wed 05-Mar-14 22:09:27

Sounds as though it might not be worth it!

I'll tell you what, if I'd been a lifelong smoker I'd certainly think twice about giving up after reading the posts on this thread!

carnationa Wed 05-Mar-14 22:24:39

no Ana why? everyone knows that smoking is horrid, it gives you bad breath it makes your clothes stink and it ruins your health

Soutra Wed 05-Mar-14 22:27:18

But with "encouraging" posts like that of 20.02.41 Carnationa, you might not think it worth the hassle.
Biker flowers

carnationa Wed 05-Mar-14 22:49:48

Yes soutra I am sorry, I would like to apologise It was all true though.

But I am speaking to grown Adults that know the benefits of giving up and not teenagers that maybe need persuading.

Dragonfly1 Wed 05-Mar-14 22:58:45

Well thank you, carnationa. I stopped smoking on October 1st last year after 40 odd years. I had been feeling quite good about it till I read your earlier post about your acquaintance dying from lung cancer. Now I'm wondering why I bothered.

carnationa Wed 05-Mar-14 23:13:49

I have said SORRY!!!

You did good by giving up dragonf you must be feeling better for it.

As I said the person had lots of other stress going on, a broken 40 year marriage a tax bill for £10,000 and cataracts.

DebnCreme Wed 05-Mar-14 23:29:10

I gave up smoking after being a 20/30 a day person for 30 years. Haven't smoked now for 20 years so it is worth the effort.

Anne58 Wed 05-Mar-14 23:37:29

DebnCreme what method did you use? Replacement stuff, hypnotherapy, gradual cutting down or stone cold stopping?

DebnCreme Wed 05-Mar-14 23:53:16

I decided to stop completely and used an inhalator instead phoenix; it went everywhere with me. It was in the days before ecigarettes and I did get some funny looks in pubs or restaurants. Sucking at my bit of plastic was a bit like a dummy I suppose smile.

i think once I had accepted that smoking doesn't make anything better the cravings gradually eased off. Like all addictions I know that if I had just one cigarette even now I would be back where I started.

If you are trying to give up phoenix I wish you well and know you will be pleased with your achievement flowers

gillybob Wed 05-Mar-14 23:58:10

My son finally packed in smoking about a year ago now. He has tried to do so several times in the past without success using patches, inhalators etc. This time however he went cold turkey and went from 30 a day to none after having a heart scare and being rushed into hospital. He has put on a little bit weight, but he needed to as he was very skinny and obviously smoking instead of eating. He has always loved cooking for the family and now enjoys eating what he has cooked too. smile

gillybob Wed 05-Mar-14 23:59:16

He also told me that he had never tasted food properly for as long as he could remember and can now really taste what he has cooked.

Dragonfly1 Wed 05-Mar-14 23:59:53

I'm using an e-cig, really don't think I could have done it without. Patches and lozenges didn't help at all. Problem now is giving up the ruddy e-cig!

durhamjen Thu 06-Mar-14 00:06:39

My dad smoked 40 a day until he had a stroke when he was 70. He stopped when he was in hospital and lived until he was 87. He still did lots of gardening until he was 80, and did not put on weight.
My husband gave up when he was 20 when we saw an exhibition of pickled lungs at the library. He never put on weight. He died of brain cancer when he was 65.
No lesson there, then.

harrigran Thu 06-Mar-14 00:52:02

My father was a carbon copy of your friend carnationa. I stopped smoking 39 years ago by just throwing the packet away and not using any props. When I set my mind to things I am very determined and I was not going to fail, nor did I.