Quit smoking

A nurse from the Midlands is hoping it will be 4th time lucky as she tries to quit smoking and you can read how she got on as she shares her quit smoking diary with Heart as part of National No Smoking Day.

Anne Keogh from Kings Heath in Birmingham has been a heavy smoker for most of her life and is well aware of the dangers it poses to her health but has struggled time after time to quit.

It seems that Anne is not alone, according to the NHS Stop Smoking Services in the West Midlands 43 percent of smokers want to give up and 4 out of 5 of those have tried and failed.

Anne has been using the Stop Smoking Service which provides medication and support when it comes to giving up smoking.

Anne's Quitting Blog

January 1 2010: Well this is it - the year of giving up. Just 13 days until I finally stop this addiction ruling everything I do. Went to a New Year's Eve party at Kate and Allan's only had three cigarettes which is great for me as I would normally have had ten.

Weather really bad at the moment, much too cold to be standing outside for ten minutes while you puff away on a cigarette, am not doing it any more. Don't want to sound like a drama queen but I have a feeling if I don't do something about my health I will have a heart attack or something ….smoking, weight and fitness are my three goals this year.

January 4 2010: Just got back from GP's with a Champix initiation pack (a medicine to help smokers stop smoking). Will start on Wednesday when I get back from my holiday in Spain. Have joined the NHS Stop Smoking Clinic at Selly Oak Hospital run by Steve Pugh. He is an ex-smoker and I know he will help a lot.

January 14 2010: Have started the Champix, feeling slightly sick and have headaches but not bad at all. Giving up in three days time so wanted to give myself the best chance of it working. Feel nervous now - the big day is looming but I must do this - think of the money and the shopping. Really worried about my weight too - have started to plan for carrots sticks and low calorie stuff to munch instead of chocolate and sweets.

January 15 2010: So this is it. My last day of smoking - EVER!!! A bit anxious. I do have an addiction I don't like but I do like the habit. Champix is working now because I'm not getting any cravings. Sleeping is difficult and the dry mouth too but am drinking more water and have mouth spray and gum to help.

January 23 2010: First week has gone really well and I feel really good about myself. It is really busy at work and there is one problem. As a smoker I would always make time for a "fag break". As I am not longer going outside for a cigarette I'm not taking any breaks at all so just not stopping, not drinking enough liquid and oh my mouth is dry - note to self - drink more, mouth wash.

January 30 2010: I hate the winter - just had to put that in writing. Anyway still going strong. Went to see Steve at the NHS Stop Smoking Clinic at my hospital - Selly Oak - did the Carbon Monoxide test which can tell how much is in my lungs and it was quite low.

Starting to worry about my weight and have decided to join a slimming club as am worried I will gain a lot of weight like the last time I stopped smoking. The group is big but everyone is so friendly and supportive of me giving up smoking that they gave me a round of applause (ahhhh).

Oh and by the way ……more money in the "Good 4 Me" fund.

February 13 2010: Lets start with the best news - blew into the Carbon Monoxide tube and the reading was zero - yes zero!! I did a little victory dance around the room and Steve must have thought I was crazy but you can't imagine how good it made me feel that my poor lungs were only breathing in the city air and not toxins from cigarettes. I am so proud of myself.

Lost half a pound at the slimming club - my quitting smoking attempt more successful that dieting but I am not going to beat myself up. I am still two and a half pounds lighter than when I gave up the fags.

More money in the stash so went out and bought some new make-up and a pair of trousers.

February 26 2010: I am having the best support from the NHS Stop Smoking Adviser Steve Pugh at the Selly Oak hospital who is terrific and I love the way he is so proud of me and my efforts.

I'm surprised at the amount of cash I am building up. Every day I put away the money I would have spent on cigarettes. You'd be surprised how quickly that money mounts up and I really, really like the cash more than I loved my smoking habit.

I would advise anyone who even has the slightest feeling they want to stop smoking to do this. Take one week and write down every time you have a cigarette and why …you will surprise yourself. Then when you realise you don't need as many cigarettes as you think you did, go and visit an NHS Stop Smoking group and talk to the people who have quit.  Think about your health, your finances, and family, what will you be able to afford, what about your health and so on?

My husband and I plan to take early retirement and live in Spain - what would be the point in pursuing a healthier lifestyle if I carry on smoking?

If you would like advice and support you can contact the NHS Stop Smoking helpline by calling 0800 0525 855.

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