For many, October signals Stoptober, a chance to quit smoking for the whole month - if not for good. We all know the health hazards that smoking causes, but once addicted, it's an uphill battle to break the habit. To mark Stoptober, we challenged two women to give up smoking and share their experience with us. From trying electronic cigarettes or vapes, to undergoing a course of hypnotherapy, discover how our willing volunteers get on in their weekly blogs - warts and all!
Arianna Salenius, 23, lives in London where she works as an account manager. She has been a smoker for seven years and is starting Stoptober by substituting cigarettes for a vape. But will she be able to put down the vape too by the end of the month?
"I’m Arianna and I’m about to embark on one month without smoking for Stoptober. I’ve been smoking for seven years now, which, yes, isn’t a dramatically long time but if I don’t quit now, then when?!
On the first day of the month, I wake up without a hangover at all – which is lovely – and unusual! But all I can think is, how am I going to have a coffee without a cigarette? How am I going to walk to the tube without a cigarette? Believe it or not, I manage a coffee, a walk, a gym session and a lot of shopping without one. But this short burst of holy lean, green goddessness rapidly deteriorates and I start to get very snappy. I go on the hunt across London for a vape – and it’s a saviour!
Five days in and although the vape tastes of dust, I haven't had a real cigarette and I’m so pleased. My lungs feel less disgusting and the gym somehow feels much more doable! This may be a placebo effect, but I’m happy with it, either way.
Vaping does concern me slightly though… Surely I’m just replacing one kind of habit with another? In the next week I’d really like to banish my 11am and 4pm smoking (vaping) work breaks.
Let's see though, I might be saying the complete opposite after a bottle of wine and too many chips…."
Hannah Gee, 33, lives in Surrey and works in London as an account manager. Hannah has smoked for 20 years and is hoping to quit for good, with the help of a hypnotherapist.
"I’ve agreed to quit smoking for October (and hopefully the rest of my life!). I’m 33, single, work in London, and have been smoking for 20 years.
I started smoking when I was 13 for no reason other than I just wanted to. My parents are non-smokers – my dad even offered to give me £1,000 on my 21st birthday, on the condition that I reached the milestone age without ever having smoked a cigarette. Clearly he wasn’t offering enough money.
Sadly, his dad passed away of emphysema so he was very keen for my brother and I not to start. My brother received his £1,000 – I, on the other hand, did not!
I have always thought of myself as a social smoker, and would usually only smoke with a large glass of wine in hand. However, after a few years, the social side turned into smoking every day and before I knew it I had become a fully-fledged smoker.
Saturday1st October was my first day (in two decades) as a non-smoker. And quite frankly I was fearful that I wouldn’t be able to do it. It’s been the only relationship I’ve managed to hang on to! However I’m pleased (and surprised) to say that it’s now day 11 and I’m still going strong! I haven’t gone cold turkey yet, though. Instead, I’ve turned to vaping! Initially I didn’t think I could quit without it – and on Saturday night, you would have had to prise that electronic cigarette out of my hand – but this week I’m impressed with how little I’m actually using it!
Even so, I want to take quitting one step further and give up nicotine for good. So I did a bit of online research and came across a Harley Street Clinic that offers hypnotherapy. After some further reading and speaking to the lovely woman at the clinic, I booked an appointment and have my first session tonight. Here goes!"
Check back next week to discover how Arianna and Hannah are faring in their quest to quit. Feeling inspired to break the habit too? Check out our Stoptober infographic which reveals all the ways it can benefit your health - and your wallet.