Quit smoking with the right support for you
Stoptober is the 28-day stop smoking challenge from Public Health England, which starts on 1 October 2018.
Quitting smoking is easier with the right support. The most successful quit attempts are made with a combination of quit methods, so this year Stoptober is providing a free online Personal Quit Plan, which helps smokers find the right support for them.
Stoptober has driven over 1.7 million quit attempts and offers a range of extra free quitting support including a Stoptober app, Facebook messenger bot, daily emails and support from Stoptober online communities.
If you are a smoker, quitting is the best thing you can do for your health and the health of those around you. Become part of the movement and join thousands this Stoptober who are determined to become smokefree.
Go to Stoptober to get your free Personal Quit Plan and find the support that’s right for you. For more details click here
Sunderland dad Nathan Freeman is encouraging people to make a quit attempt during Stoptober, read his story here
Join Sun FM’s Lauren from Simon & Lauren in the Morning on her quit journey as she takes on the Stoptober challenge. We will follow her progress both on air and below as she blogs about the highs and lows of the next 28 days.
Sun FM has teamed up with Live Life Well to offer £250 worth of Bridges vouchers to one lucky listener who’s going planning on going smoke free. If you want to stop smoking with the support of Live Life Well and have the chance of winning £250 worth of vouchers just fill in the form below. Everyone who sets a quit date with them using the form below during October and stays smoke free for 28 days will be entered into a prize draw to win. The winner will be chosen at random and announced on 1 December. If you don’t want to enter the competition but still want to go smokefree remember you can call Live Life Well anytime on 0800 107 0741 or visit www.livelifewell.org.uk
Lauren’s Journey to Quit
This Monday marks the start of a very important campaign: Stoptober. One which I’m really excited to be part of and to start my journey into being a non-smoker. I’ve had my meeting with Sue from the NHS Stop Smoking service via Live Life Well in Sunderland where we decided the best port of call to give me the best possible chance of being a non-smoker was nicotine replacement patches to wear for 16 hours then for any through the day cravings, I’ve got sugar-free gum to give me a quick hit.
As it’s my birthday today, I was surprised with a birthday holiday courtesy of my wonderful family so I’m looking forwards to it and hoping my will-power stays strong enough while I’m away! Thankfully I’m prepped with all the support I need as well as my products. I’m really looking forward to sleeping better, feeling better and saving money and not rattling through bottles of perfume like there’s no tomorrow!
I’ll keep you updated on my highs and lows of the journey – I know it’s not going to be a walk in the park but I’m so excited to make this really positive change.
So, day one of Stoptober and I’m on a surprise birthday holiday on the Costa Del Sol thanks to my lovely family. Sitting on the plane yesterday I was thinking of how hard it was going to be with temptation in my face in every direction. Waking up this morning, I had my coffee, slapped my patch on and it’s worked WONDERS! I’ve had my handy gum on me all day and only had to use it three times to stop the cravings which I’m quite proud of myself for! I had afternoon drinks and whenever I have a few, I always find I’m reaching for my cigs more often but to my surprise, I had a few lagers and didn’t feel the need to find the nearest shop that could sell me 20. I also find whenever I’ve got nothing to do I’ll reach for my pack but instead, I’ve reached for my gum and not felt like I needed to spark up at all. It helps that here in Spain I’ve got distractions all around me but the drawback is that most places here allow you to smoke so I’ve had to really power through smelling a lot of people around me having a tab but it hasn’t been as hard as I thought it was. I know I’ve always got Sue, my extremely supportive advisor on hand from the NHS stop smoking service through Live Life Well in Sunderland if I need any words of encouragement. When we met before I left she was telling me just how much I’ll be saving by not buying a pack of cigs every day so I’m putting away that amount of money and I can’t wait to see how much I’ll save by Friday! I’m also looking forwards to welcoming all the positive changes I’ll be experiencing so I’ll keep you updated as I get them! I’ll sleep better, have more energy, smell better, have more money and overall, be so much healthier and I’m ready to welcome them all!
So my second day of Stoptober was a bit of a rocky start! I woke up, had my coffee and the first thing I wanted was a cig but I popped my patch on, chewed some gum and put it to the back of my mind – thankfully, it worked. Today has been less busy for me and we brits love a drink abroad so temptation has fully been in my face and I’ve had to rely on my gum a lot more than yesterday but the thing is, combining the patch with the gum is something that truly works and I’m so glad it’s the products that were highlighted in my meeting with Sue and when doing my quit plan too. It totally doesn’t help here that there’s a tobacconist on almost every corner and there’s people shouting about how cheap their ciggies are but I’m determined to see just how much I’ve saved by Friday and am not giving into temptation! Another thing that’s particularly hard is the Spanish culture of smoking in most outdoor places but the gum really does take the cravings away so thankfully I haven’t been itching to buy a 20 pack. I woke up this morning without the massive rattle in my chest which I’ve had for years and last night I slept so well, I slept through three alarms so it’s a good job Simon wasn’t waiting for me today! I’ve found I’ve had to take less breaks when walking around and exploring a bit of the area so even though it was a more relaxed day, I’ve seen more than I thought because it didn’t take me so long like a dog stopping at every lamppost! I’m putting it all down to now being a non-smoker. So far I’m pretty proud of myself: I’ve had a few quit attempts over the years but none of them have ever lasted very long however this time I feel positive about not touching them again and embracing all the changes.
Day three of Stoptober got off to a much finer start than day 2, I had my coffee, slapped on my patch and was out the door ready for a day of shopping and taking in the sights of the old parts of the area to keep myself distracted. We did have a long journey up away from the coast towards the mountain area of the Costa Del Sol and usually the first thing I’d do after travelling for any length of time is light a tab! Plenty people who got off the bus did just that and for a minute I thought “Do I want that too?” But as soon as the smell wafted over to me I realised it definitely wasn’t what I wanted, popped a piece of gum in and got ready to explore. There was plenty things to keep me busy and plenty times I had to try and navigate the non-touristy bit where not many people speak Spanish – and my Spanish is pretty much limited to “Dos cerveza por favor!” so that was a challenge in itself but it kept me really distracted to the point I only used two pieces of gum over the course of the little day trip. I’ve got another day of travelling ahead of me tomorrow – this time I’m on my way home so no doubt the gum will come in extra handy while I’m in the airport and on the flight, especially as I’m not the most relaxed person while flying so it’ll certainly help calm my nerves! I’m also meeting with the super supportive Sue tomorrow from the NHS stop smoking service through Live Life Well when I’m home and I’m looking forward to telling her about how proud of myself I am and seeing what the next steps of my journey of being a non-smoker are and embracing more and more of the positive changes as they come.
So day 4 of Stoptober and it’s been a very long day! Normally the kind that would have me reaching for open space, a tab and a lighter – I was on the go from 2 in the morning to fly home and being an anxious flier, I was dreading the thought of being stuck travelling for so long with limited distractions. I got through 8 pieces of gum today which is more than I ever have but it worked – I didn’t dive at the Duty Free deals on a sleeve of 200 for €50 and standing near the smoking area made me feel sick which is something so positive (in a way!) so early on in my journey. I’ve been around people smoking a lot today and noticed the way it clung to me – a now non-smoker, and have been itching to shower all day and get it off me! I don’t know how I used to sit like this all day! I have another long day of travelling tomorrow but I don’t dread it like I did for the journey I did today because I know I’ve got my patches and gum and I know I can do it. I’ve got books, magazines and music to distract myself as well – all it takes is three minutes to distract yourself from a craving and I like to pop a little stopwatch on my phone when I feel a craving, watch the three minutes tick by while I’m making myself busy and feel better for not lighting up and chewing on some minty gum instead. My next destination is Dubai, where you can smoke inside a lot of places so that’s something I’m not looking forwards to but we’ve got so much to do through the day while we’re there that I’m positive I’ve got this! I met with super Sue from Live Life Well in Sunderland, the NHS service I’m using to help with my journey, told her I was very proud of myself and she shared some really positive words of encouragement! I’m welcoming all the changes that are coming my way – my chest is getting clearer and although I have been a bit irritable at times (as expected), I’ve been more relaxed as a whole because I’ve not been desperate to find the next place I can stop to smoke and I’m continuing to sleep like a log!
Day 5 of Stoptober and it’s been a long day of travelling to Dubai! After finally arriving, I got a quick hit of a craving but popped my gum in and changed my patch and was away! We’ve got a jam-packed week ahead so I know I’ve got plenty distractions to keep me going as well as a load of gum and my patches too. Unfortunately, due to a cultural difference in Dubai, there’s a lot of indoor smoking areas however I’m staying strong and reminding myself how much better off I now am! I’ve also now saved just under £50 in only 5 days which is insane and I’m looking forward to continually saving and saving as time goes on. I’m genuinely getting out of bed with a spring in my step and feeling fully refreshed after sleep which is just unknown territory when my working day usually begins at 6am! I’ve found I’ve had to have my coffee a lot weaker as well as my taste buds are returning to what they were before I was a smoker and my favourite perfume now smells different on me than it did which is another positive yet strange change that I’m embracing. It’s much nicer finishing a lovely meal and not itching for the door to spark up straight away and it’s also inherently more sociable to not be a smoker so I’m getting to have great conversations and not miss out on anything that might be going on! I’m fully enjoying life as a non-smoker now and can’t wait to see more positive things and changes as they happen.
So day 6 of Stoptober and I’ve had to have the distractions on hand to keep me going today! More of a relaxed day in Dubai meant it was more cravings for me to deal with. My favourite craving killer is the gum I’ve got but sometimes I find it better to do something with my hands to take away the habit of putting my hand to my mouth. The thing I go to most to distract myself is my phone and I flick on an article to read and think through it, or start typing a message reply but really think thoroughly about what I’m saying – I’m not only getting through Stoptober but also communicating better!
So on day 7 of Stoptober I’ve been chewing my gum like a trooper and trying to battle the temptations of being surrounded by people smoking indoors which hasn’t been easy and I’ve lost a few fingernails as a result. I’ve managed though – and it hasn’t been a walk in the park and with the heat, the patches have left me a lovely couple of blisters so for a day I went rogue and took it off. It was too difficult to go without it, I thought I could do it and had to run back to my hotel before I bought some cigs.
On day 8, I knew not to leave my room without a patch on and it was such a much easier day. I took plenty of gum with me and chewed away but I’m finding I now use less of the gum however still relying on the patches and keeping them on my body somewhere they’re not exposed to the heat and it’s working brilliantly. No chewed fingernails and I’m overall feeling less stressed too which is a different feeling that’s for sure. I’m sleeping so well that I’m struggling to get out of bed!
Day 9 of Stoptober and I’m still going strong. I’ve found that since I’m not smoking anymore I’m fiddling with random things instead! This morning I shredded a coffee stirrer which kept me distracted from my cravings but was also therapeutic without me realising and a great way to keep my mind active. My chest feels so clear every morning but I’m still finding I have a bit of a sore throat which is thankfully a normal sign of stopping smoking so I know I’m on the right road to being in full health.
Day 10 of Stoptober and my cravings have yet again been quelled by playing and fiddling with things. As my sense of taste and smell are returning, I’m finding the gum is actually quite strong and I can only use it for a few minutes but I’ve been going through less and less every day as long as I can occupy my hands with something. Today I was clicking a pen much to Simons annoyance! But as long as I’m not smoking, I’ll fiddle!
Day 11 into my Stoptober journey and I’ve found I’m reaching to fiddle slightly less than I have been. I’ve made less use of my gum today too which is super positive meaning I’m getting less cravings! I’ve also saved just over £90 at this stage and putting the cash to the side makes it all the more noticeable of just how much I’d spend in only 12 days. It’s my last day in Dubai today and I travel home tomorrow – I’m so confident about the flight knowing I’m capable of not feeling like I need to light up at the first chance I get.
Day 12 of Stoptober and I’m feeling pretty confident about making the rest of my journey. I feel altogether more relaxed about the process and don’t have the late night nerves of wondering if I’m going to wake up wanting to smoke! The hardest craving for me to battle is the one for the cigarette I’d have first thing in the morning and I’m finding that as long as I have a distraction, I’m good to go. I usually start getting ready immediately now which means I’m using my hands constantly, whether it’s brushing my hair or putting on makeup, I’m getting rid of that need to sit outside for 10 minutes and smoke. If I’m too tired to hop out of bed with a spring in my step, I’ll read a book for 5 minutes and wake myself up and distract myself at the same time.
Day 13 of Stoptober was a long one filled with travelling and an overall lack of distractions so I had to really dig deep in my mind and remember why I was doing Stoptober and stopping smoking and how much better I’m already feeling. I lost a couple of finger nails and got through a lot of gum but overall I wasn’t as anxious or stressed as I thought I’d be in a million years which is great. I’ve also started counting to distract myself which sounds so weird but really works, a bit like how counting sheep can help you fall asleep! I’d start at 300 and count backwards and sometimes before I’ve got back to 0, I’ve already forgotten that I’d been craving in the first place and it’s a great way to help soothe anxiety as well.
Stoptober day 14 was a relaxed one which meant by nature I was more susceptible to feeling cravings! It was my first full day back at home after being away and I felt a bit nervous waking up this morning wondering if the chilled day was going to mean reaching for a 20 pack but I’m so thankful it didn’t! I decided to throw my energy into a long walk along the beach with the dog and had so much more energy to do so and between taking snaps on my phone and holding the dogs lead I didn’t even have time to think about anything else!
Day 15 of Stoptober marked my first day back in the office as a non-smoker and I thought I’d be totally pushed to my limit but thankfully I only reached for gum twice and was kept busy all day! Usually the first thing I’d do when I get home is make a cuppa and spark up to unwind after the day but instead, I forewent the cuppa and took the dog straight out for a long walk across the beach and distracted myself that way. I’ve found the support from those closest to me and my work colleagues has been paramount to me keeping going, giving me words of encouragement all throughout the day telling me they’re proud of me and it’s even better knowing there’s so many of us doing this together.
Day 16 of Stoptober and I arranged my next catch up with the lovely Supportive Sue at Live Life Well who has been the greatest support of my journey to being a non-smoker! We’ll be meeting on day 18 and I’m excited to see all the differences in my health and hear some more of her encouragement and positivity as each time we chat, she gives me the next milestone I’ll be hitting and all the different things my body is going through at the different stages. Today I’ve reached for no gum and opted to keep myself busy and not needed to fiddle and to be honest, it’s getting easier day by day.