Proud to Be a Quitter – Karen’s Story

“I’m proud to be a quitter.” That’s the message from Karen Davidson from Polmont, who stopped smoking six months ago and says she has never looked back. She’s also saving a whopping £75 a week now she no longer buys cigarettes.

Karen first started smoking when she was 25 for no other reason than ‘Everyone else was doing it’. Thirty years later Karen was smoking 25 a day.

Several attempts before had proved unsuccessful, although she admits she had no intention of giving up again, until an annual health check up led to her being referred to NHS Forth Valley’s Stop Smoking Service.

Karen met with Smoking Cessation adviser Jackie Turnbull and the first thing she said to her was “You won’t get me to quit.” Jackie chatted to Karen about her lifestyle and advised her of a variety options including patches, Champix tablets and gum. Karen chose to take the tablets, which worked almost straightaway with no side-effects other than some strange dreams!

Karen said “One thing that worried me most was the weight gain which is often associated with quitting smoking. However Jackie provided me with lots of useful information, including healthy snacks you can have, such as carrot sticks, which help keep the hands busy.”

She added “I did initially gain some weight in the first few weeks on quitting, but it only lasted the four weeks. It is a very minor thing compared to the health benefits of giving up. Before I quit, I was spending close to £75 a week on cigarettes. Since quitting I have used some of the money I’ve saved to join a gym.”

Experiences like these highlight the theme of this year’s No Smoking Day on March 11th – “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