Proud to be a quitter – Kathy’s story

“I’m proud to be a quitter.” That’s the message from Kathy Graham from Alva, ahead of this year’s No Smoking Day on March 11th

Back in the early 80’s, just before she left school, Kathy Graham succumbed to peer pressure and began to smoke. After all, her best friend’s parents ran a chippy, so there was a ready supply of cigarettes. In addition her father smoked as well.

Kathy was getting through a pack of 20 every day but eventually decided she wanted to stop. Her daughter was nagging her, and there was a whiff that the Scottish Government were about to bring in a smoking ban. “You know what” says Kathy, “between the ban and my daughter, I thought I’d rather be the one to make the decision to stop.”

Kathy sought help from the Stop Smoking Service and her GP. She began on large patches, geared to the amount of cigarettes being smoked. But they were too strong – Kathy believes they gave her the jitters. So it was back on the fags again until she sought help from a member of the NHS Forth Valley Stop Smoking Service who switched her to a smaller patch. From then on, her craving stopped.

“I’m so glad I did it. I definitely feel better. I can walk better and even thought I didn’t have any lung deficiency I find using a running machine easier. On foot I can even break into a trot! “I’m proud to be a quitter. I have no inclination for a cigarette now but I think people have to get the right support and the correct props to kick the habit.”

Experiences like these highlight the theme of this year’s No Smoking Day – “I’m Proud to be a Quitter.” Most people who finally stop smoking enjoy a great sense of achievement and pride when the craving for nicotine starts to ease, the cash that went up in smoke can be spent on other things and the person starts to feel healthier, fresher and fitter.

Gillian Bruce, NHS Forth Valley Stop Smoking Co-ordinator said: “Giving up smoking is one of the most important lifestyle decisions leading to better health. By letting people know about services to help them quit will reduce the number of tobacco-related illnesses across Forth Valley. It is also very important that we try to protect the next generation from starting to smoke and give them the best start in life.”

NHS Forth Valley Senior Stop Smoking Specialist, Yvonne Pringle added: “There are loads of ways you can stop smoking in Forth Valley. These include pharmacies, workplaces and clinics and a specialist service is provided in Forth Valley Royal Hospital. It is important for people to realise that all treatment is free and we are here to help.”

The Specialist Stop Smoking Service is willing to go into offices and factories to work with groups of people who want to stop smoking. For further information on stopping in Forth Valley call   Smokeline: 0800 84 84 48