How old were you when you started smoking?
I was around 13 years old when I first started smoking and I smoked for around 13 years before deciding to quit.
Do you remember why you started smoking?
Yes, I started smoking with my cousin. My auntie used to leave her cigarettes lying around which we used to take advantage of. I also used to smoke with my friends at school as we all used to chip in and buy a packet of cigarettes together.
How many cigarettes per day were you smoking on average?
What were your reasons for quitting?
There were a few reasons for quitting smoking. I wanted to quit for my health, for my little boy, financial reasons and I no longer wanted to smoke.
How did you access stop smoking support?
One to one, I'd rate the support I received as a 10 out of 10 - excellent!
Did you use stop smoking medication to help you quit?
After contacting Yorkshire Smokefree Calderdale for support with stopping smoking, I was encouraged to attend the Laura Mitchell Health and Wellbeing Centre for my initial consultation.
Whilst attending my first appointment it was explained to me by the stop smoking advisor my options and what stop smoking products were available to me. I chose nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) to help me with my quit.
Years previous I had tried stopping smoking with nicotine patches but not found them helpful, so I knew I was looking for something different.
It was explained to me that I was able to use two NRT products in the initial part of my quit to help with break through cravings. I chose the Nicorette Inhalator alongside the 4mg nicotine gum.
How helpful did you find it?
The Nicorette Inhalator chosen was not helping with break through cravings and I found the nicotine gum more supportive. I continued to use only 4mg gum for the next couple of weeks before cutting down to regular chewing gum to help maintain my quit.
Initially I found the gum very useful and it helped when I was craving but 12 weeks down the line I no longer use any nicotine based products and found regular chewing gum helpful.
Apart from medication, what else helped you to quit and stay smoke free?
Being able to breathe! New lifestyle - healthy diet and I'm not drinking alcohol so that really helps. I'm exercising so that helps too. I've recently attended the Better Living Service which helped motivate me to stop smoking.
Has your health improved since you quit and if so, in what ways?
I can breathe!
I am eating healthier I feel healthier and I am more physically active. I'm enjoying food since stopping smoking as my sense of taste has improved. I used to have a cigarette before my meals which now I think about it I couldn't taste what I was eating.
Have you achieved anything since quitting that you couldn't do whilst smoking?
I have continued with my healthy eating and lifestyle changes since completing the Better Living Service and have found that I've lost weight whilst attending the stop smoking programme which I was worried that I would naturally gain whilst stopping smoking.
What do you like about not smoking?
There are so many things I like about not smoking!
I can breathe, I can walk up and down steps easily, I can afford things I couldn't when I was smoking, I don't smell of smoke and I'm just happier as a non-smoker.
I started my Christmas shopping in November this year - I couldn't have done that before quitting.
Do you know how much money you have saved by not smoking?
My quit date was 14th September 2018 which now means I have managed to be 3 months quit.
It's hard to say how much I've saved but from my calculations I've saved in the region of £600. Smoking on average 15-20 cigarettes a day means I've avoided smoking between 1260 - 1680 cigarettes which is an eye opener.
Do you have plans to treat yourself with the money saved?
I'm planning a short break away to visit my friend with the money I've saved.
What would you say to anyone who has recently started smoking, or, if you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self before you smoked that first cigarette?
There's more to life than smoking!
I've recently signed up to the Breathe 2025 vision to pledge my support of a Smokefree generation, as I hope my boy doesn't grow up where smoking is the norm. You can pledge by clicking here.
Well done Faye, you've done so well and we're all so proud of you!