September marks 18 months of being free from the ties of smoking for 57-year-old Carol Gilboy.  And after 42 years of smoking, that’s quite an achievement and one she’s thankful she chose to take.

Carol quit with Livewell’s free support and home delivery of treatments having joined the service at the start of the pandemic.

Her turning point came when she saw a poster explaining why smoking is bad for eye health whilst at a cataract appointment at the Royal Derby Hospital in March last year. 

“Smoking is known to cause heart disease and lung cancer but I had no idea about the detrimental effects that smoking could have had on my vision.  It made me think about my chances of having other health problems so I decided it was a good time to try to quit.”

Carol booked a telephone appointment with advisor, Gemma who advised her to use Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) patches as these had worked well for her in a previous quit attempt 20 years ago. 

“The remote support actually worked better for me.  The delivery of patches to my home compelled me to use them and keep going. Gemma checked how I was doing and offered call support if I needed it.  She also put the onus on me to request more patches when I ran out. I knew I’d feel ashamed if I slipped up so I stuck to it.” 

Carol loves that her house and clothes smell fresh.  She’s also saved over a thousand pounds since quitting and as Livewell supply up to eight weeks of NRT products for free, she also saved on the cost of the patches.  Spurred on by her successful quit, Carol is now keen to change other lifestyle behaviours.

“Now that I’ve stayed quit for this long, I’ve started to improve other areas of my health such as cutting back on alcohol, increasing my exercise and eating better. 

Stopping smoking was easier than I thought but I remind myself at weak moments that it might not be as easy to quit again.  I also regularly post about my progress on Livewell’s Facebook page, which helps keep me on track - it’s harder to relapse when you’ve told the world that you’ve quit!”

Carol’s Top tips

Don’t keep tobacco or cigarettes in the house – get rid of any temptation.

Set yourself a project to keep busy and distracted – I started growing vegetables in my garden.

Remind yourself you’re a non-smoker (introduce yourself in that way) – I used that mantra every time I woke up craving a cigarette. 

Surround yourself with non-smoking friends and family - this will reduce the temptation to light up in social situations.

Tell your friends and family (in person or on social media) about your quit – they will support you and you’ll feel you can’t let them down.

Accept praise/rewards – it makes it difficult to go back. 

Use a treatment that works for you – patches remove the physical withdrawal symptoms of nicotine and worked well for me as I weaned off them. They enabled me to focus on the psychological aspects of quitting.  I kept telling myself that I’m no longer addicted and that I can do it!!

Take on the Stoptober challenge

Research shows that if you can stop smoking for 28 days, you are five times more likely stay smokefree for good.  Join the Stoptober challenge this October and get free support and treatments from Livewell to succeed.  Book a telephone stop smoking appointment today.