Hi, my name is Lisa, and I am an NHS Stop Smoking Practitioner for ‘One You Plymouth’. I have recently had the great pleasure of helping a very inspirational lady, called Deirdre, become smokefree. So, if you’re ready to be inspired, let’s dive in.

Deirdre started smoking in her early 20’s and smoked around 20 cigarettes a day. Interestingly, her initial desire to become smoke-free was all thanks to her love of a new handbag! She said enthusiastically: “I wanted this bag for ages and when I finally got it for Christmas I loved it so much and didn’t want it stinking of fags.”

Her friend recommended that she call ’One You Plymouth’ for free, friendly smoke-free support.  She decided to give us a call for support and was promptly connected to me.  After I told her that cigarette smoke contains the poisonous, gas carbon monoxide, she became fearful for the safety of her little dog. Realising that she was putting her beloved pet at a greater risk of many health problems, she was more determined than ever to quit smoking. “The thought of carbon monoxide going into my little dog terrified me.”

Deirdre’s cravings were intense at first, so she chose to use a combination of nicotine patches and lozenges to help subside them, which we provided free of charge. “The patches and lozenges helped me with the cravings. I used the patches during the day. If I still craved a cigarette, I would have a lozenge as well. I like their minty flavour.”

Quitting smoking has given Deirbre a whole new lease on life. She told me that she felt like a prisoner, forever chained to a smoking habit. “Up and down, and in and out…standing in the rain…constantly checking that I have enough smoking supplies…constantly breaking away from company. I felt imprisoned.”

What’s more, without the burden of cigarette breaks, she was delighted to tell me that she now feels “more present” and can be in the moment with others around her. “I’m not getting up and leaving who I am with and I’m not so absent-minded. I used to feel so distracted.”

Interestingly, Deirdre confessed that she now found the smell of cigarette smoke revolting, and I couldn’t agree more. “That awful smell has gone!” Along with the return of cleaner-smelling air, came the return of her sense of smell. “I’ve got my smell back. It’s lovely. I grow roses and I can smell them. It’s wonderful.”

As a direct result of becoming smoke-free, Deirdre reported some real improvements to her health. Unfortunately, smoking severely affected Dierdre’s teeth to the point where she lost three of them. This was coupled with gum disease and painful abscesses. “Ever since I quit smoking, I have not experienced any more problems with my teeth and they don’t hurt anymore.”

Lastly, I asked Deirdre if she had some words of wisdom for anyone who wants to become smokefree, and she said:

“I would tell them to get onto a stop smoking adviser, I know that I wouldn’t have been able to do it without support. Having someone checking in on you regularly makes you feel like you’re not just left alone and that cravings are perfectly normal. You know that you have this goal and I liked giving you the good news that I hadn’t had a cigarette each week. I also loved seeing my Carbon Dioxide levels go down each week.”