Hi, my name is Lisa, and I’m a NHS Stop Smoking Practitioner for One You Plymouth. I’ve recently had the great pleasure of helping a family quit smoking together through our Swap to Stop Vaping programme. Those that quit together help each other! By sharing their story, I hope that it will inspire others to team up and quit together.

Di, Deb, Steph and Vicky are all members of one family. They decided to quit together and, as a result, have never been healthier and wealthier. I think that this remarkable success story really emphasises how smokers can help one another to quit.

Deb, 60, started smoking when she was 11 and smoked between 20 – 25 cigarettes a day. Di, 62, started when she was 26 and smoked between 30 – 40  cigarettes a day. Vicky started when she was 12 and smoked between 10 – 20 a day and her daughter Steph started when she was 11 and smoked about 10 cigarettes a day.

After Deb was diagnosed with emphysema, the family decided to quit smoking together. Deb emotionally expressed that “Smoking was really affecting my health and made my emphysema so much worse.” When Deb became smokefree she noticed significant improvements to her health: “I find that I am less breathless when I walk. I was always coughing and that has improved now.”

Di also noticed immediate health improvements: “My chest used to feel really tight, and I would always get a cold every year. I’ve had nothing this year and my chest doesn’t feel as bad.”

Vicky has asthma and felt that smoking was making it worse. “Smoking really affected my asthma, activity would make me feel breathless. Since giving up my breathlessness has reduced, and I have so much more energy.”

I was able to supply them all with nicotine patches and a vaping starter kit to aid their ‘quit journey’, except Steph, who only used the vape. They told me that the patches really helped to take the edge off the cravings. They also commented how effective nicotine vape products were and provided a meaningful exchange for smoking tobacco. They found vaping enjoyable thanks to the habitual aspects of vaping that mirrored previous smoking behaviours like the hand to mouth action, keeping hands “occupied” and breathing vapour into the lungs. Di said: “I would use the vape as I would a cigarette. It really helped with the hand to mouth action habit that I missed.” Deb added: “I liked the hit at the back of the throat” and Vicky liked that it gave her something to do with her hands.

Steph, in particular, wouldn’t even consider smoking a cigarette after trying a vape: “I used to smoke menthol cigarettes but I actually prefer the taste of the menthol vaping fluid so I didn’t even want a cigarette anymore.”

Both Deb and Di highlighted the importance of combining stop smoking aids like vaping and patches, with willingness and willpower as a source of mental strength to talk yourself out of smoking and convince yourself to stay a non-smoker, especially when faced with cravings.

Deb: “We were successful because we all had willpower, you’ve got to want to do it.”

By working together, and with support, it had a real impact on their collective willpower.

Incidentally, they told me how delighted they were to discover how quitting smoking really does lead to a richer lifestyle in more ways than one. All that money spent on pricey cigarettes suddenly freed up! Vicky said: “With all the money I saved I could afford new furniture for my bedroom!”

I believe that receiving support from people who are important to you can make a big difference in the success of becoming smokefree and this family are a great example of this. They were able to motivate each other, and no one wanted to be the only smoker left in the family! Vicky said: “We would all congratulate each other saying “WELL DONE!” and this was really motivating.” Not wanting to be marginalised to the fringes of the family as the only smoker, Di found quitting as a family a strong motivator: “I had no reason to give up but when the rest of the family decided to quit I didn’t want to be the only smoker.” Steph added: “It was so much better quitting as a family as no one was smoking around me which would’ve made it harder.”

I’m so proud of them, they have done so well. They’re over the moon to be smokefree. Di said: “I am so pleased with myself. Now I can’t believe that I’m not smoking. I don’t feel the need to go back to smoking. It’s out of my system now.”

This wonderful family were always such a laugh and eager to engage.  They always answered at their appointments, engaged well and they found the quit much easier than they thought.  It’s been lovely to help a ‘family’ quit.  The support and encouragement of those around us really does make a difference.

If you would like advice and support to quit smoking, you can contact the One You Plymouth team today and we can help you take the first steps to become smoke free. Call 01752 437177 or email [email protected].